This Week in Texas: November 17, 2010

Posted November 17, 2010 in The Mignon Memo

The race is on to fill the open seat left by the death of Rep. Edmund Kuempel (R-Seguin). There is a crowded field of 10 candidates including seven Republicans, two Democrats and one Libertarian. The Republicans are Ron Avery, an architect from Seguin; Chris Burchell, a law enforcement officer from Adkins; Jim Fish, a small business owner from Cibolo; Gary Inmon, an attorney and small business owner from Schertz; John Kuempel, a salesman from Seguin and son of Rep.Edmund Kuempel; Myrna McLeroy, who works in Petroleum Land Services from Gonzales and Robin Walker, a self-employed business manager and public relations consultant who ran against Rep. Kuempel in the 2010 Republican Primary. The Democrats are Daniel Rodriguez Andrade, a real estate business owner from Seguin; and Cheryl Dees Patterson, a realtor from Seguin. The Libertarian is Tony Gergely, a business owner from Seguin. The special election will be held December 14th.

The Legislative Budget Board, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus, met on Monday to set the spending limit for the next two-year budget. State agencies were instructed to come up with additional budget cuts of up to 3 percent from their current budgets. Tax revenue for the current two-year budget, which ends next August, could bring in close to $4 billion less than previous estimates. Earlier this year, lawmakers called for agencies to reduce their piece of the $87 billion general fund by 5 percent. Those cuts produced only $1.2 billion in savings in the 2010-11 budget because certain areas were wholly exempt, including direct aid to school districts.

Debbie Irvine was appointed the new Executive Director of the Texas Legislative Council. Irvine, a longtime Council employee, has been serving as Interim Director. This position has been empty since the former Executive Director Milton Rister left to run for the Texas House.