Oil slump socks Texas budget, making spending cuts likely
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A prolonged oil slump is leaving Texas with a grim spending forecast, and one top Republican lawmaker says budget cuts are now certain.
Spending figures released Monday show that Texas won't escape the financial woes that Oklahoma, Louisiana and other energy-producing states have confronted following the oil bust.
Republican state Rep. Drew Darby says the Texas Legislature could be more than $5 billion short of the money needed just to preserve current services. That deficit looms as lawmakers confront a growing child welfare crisis and pressure from public schools.
Republican Comptroller Glenn Hegar says oil and gas taxes plummeted by more than 50 percent last year.
The dim forecast comes as the U.S. unemployment rate caught up with Texas in November for the first time in a decade.