State Senator Kel Seliger spoke to Borger citizens on many questioned topics Tuesday morning.
At Borger City Hall, Seliger focused on some hot topics related to the 82nd legislative session and some topics citizens were concerned and curious about.
Seliger started his discussion by saying, “I always enjoy being here and having a town hall meeting.” When the discussion over the 82nd legislative session started about a year ago the state was looking at a structural deficit of 27 billion dollars.
”What I mean by a structural deficit - we take the budget from last year, move it forward and then we add inflation and whatever else that needs to be added to it and that becomes the new budget,” he said. He continued to tell the public that the House of Representatives fixes the budget in one biennial and the next time the Senate does it.
The first thing that happened was the budget cut funding for four community colleges, Odessa College, Frank Phillips, Ranger College, and one of the smaller colleges down in South Texas.
“It was crazy and sort of inconsistent,” Seliger said. Seliger went onto say he disagreed with this movement. This was resolved and the results ended up at 99.7 percent of existing funding going to community colleges.
“The largest part of out budget is public education, P-K through 12, and that was cut in the original budget by nine billion dollars. We put 5.7 billion back into that budget, but at the end of the day that budget was not increased in enrollment growth inflation and reduction in property tax appraisals because of the recession.”
About 40 percent of the budget is public education and healthcare (i.e. medicaid) is the second largest part of the budget. It was decided that if colleges gained a certain amount of credit hours from students and any other successful achievements they were going to give back money to the colleges. Frank Phillips and other community colleges will be receiving extra money from what was left over after their budget cuts,. Seliger explained.