John Cullar, the Democratic nominee running against Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) in Senate District 22, pulled out of the race on Friday, the last day before the November ballot was set. Cullar and the Texas Democratic Party had argued that Birdwell was ineligible to run for the seat because he had not lived in the district for five years as required by the Texas Constitution. Last Thursday, the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas denied Cullar’s petition on technical legal grounds for the Democrats failing to first take their case to the Republican Party of Texas, which had the ability to remove Birdwell from the ballot.
At the state capitol, Texas House and Senate committees have heard testimony from the state’s budget experts regarding the predicted budget shortfall. The state’s revised business franchise tax is not living up to expectations. During a hearing this week, the Texas Comptroller’s Office said that Texas will collect $3.85 billion this year, a figure that is down $500 million from what was anticipated in the biennial revenue estimate. In addition to examining tax collections, legislators will begin considering other ways to reduce the biennial budget. As state agencies begin to submit their LARS (Legislative Appropriations Requests), look for proposed reductions to the state’s public employee workforce.