Austin, Texas – State Representative, James White, spoke to the East Texas County Commissioners and Judges Association Tuesday at their pre-legislative session meeting in Austin. Representative White told the group that county governments were the most efficient governmental entities in the state and he needed their help in making state government more efficient. Noting the revenue projections could lead to drastic cuts in state agency and program funding, he assured the commissioners and judges he understood they did not want new mandates forced on the counties without the funds for carrying them out. White also expressed a desire to reopen the issue of weight limits on log trucks traveling on county roads. On another issue of interest in Deep East Texas, he said he understood the Alabama Coushatta Tribe's desire to see reinstatement of their ability to operate a casino. White said that he does not gamble, but he would support placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot to let the people of Texas decide the issue.
Also speaking to the group was Jim Allison, the General Counsel of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas (CJ&CCAT). Allison gave them an overall update on the Texas State Comptroller's current budget update and projection for state revenue in the next two years. Allison said that the Texas State Comptroller's current budget report, and projection for revenue coming in for the next two years, combined with the governor pledging to not raise taxes, left only the options of cutting the budget and raising user fees.
Allison the budget writing process would be painful and difficult for the legislature and it could lead to special sessions being called. He closed by urging the group to stay informed and involved in the legislative process.
Also in attendance at this event and speaking briefly to the group was, Judge Penny Redington, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Regional Councils and former County Judge of Ellis County and Don R. Allred, the President of the Texas Association of Counties and County Judge of Oldham County.