Governor Rick Perry addressed state lawmakers in a joint session Tuesday morning to deliver his State of the State address.
He warned the group that budget cuts would be made and encouraged lawmakers to make the cuts without burdening tax-payers.
Among his suggestions is eliminating the funding for four state agencies including the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Commission on the Arts until the economy improves. Perry also called for consolidating a number of state agencies. As an example, he said the state can combine the Department of Rural Affairs with the Department of Agriculture.
In all, he suggests cutting 21 agencies down to 11. Those plans alone would save an estimated $50 million. However, the state shortfall sits around $27 billion. Perry vowed to close that gap without raising taxes and without dipping into the state's Rainy Day Fund.
“Taking more money away from Texas families and employers is not the answer to our challenges,” said Perry. “They’ve already sacrificed plenty. Balancing our budget without raising taxes will certainly set a nice example for the rest of the nation, but we have a bigger motivation. Balancing our budget without raising taxes will keep us moving forward.”
Perry gave lawmakers an example to work by -- the Human Health Service Commission. Its inspector general saved the state billions of dollars. Perry wants those practices applied across all state departments utilizing a state inspector general to work directly with agencies.
Along with the cuts, Perry also stressed areas for lawmakers to make improvements and expansions including education, healthcare, and border security. Perry describes his plan as one that would “blaze the path for other states.”