This past week, state Rep. William Metcalf, the chairman of the House Administration Committee, which manages payroll in the Texas House, sent legislators a memo outlining the specific consequences of Gov. Greg Abbott’s veto of funding to the Legislature.
In June, Abbott vetoed Article X of the state budget, effectively defunding the Legislature. This move was made in retaliation against Texas House Democrats who broke quorum in May to prevent the passage of the highly restrictive voting bill that Abbott supported.
In his memo, Metcalf states that if Article X funding is not restored before the beginning of the new budgetary biennium on Sept. 1, “the House will not have the authority or funding to pay for employee salaries and the many services, contracts, and leases currently in place.” Aside from their salaries, legislative staff will be responsible for paying the entirety of their monthly health insurance premiums and cannot make contributions to the Employee Retirement Service (ERS) pension fund.
The memo also stated that the House will no longer be able to pay for leases for the district offices of Texas House members, effectively cutting communities off from their elected representatives. Throughout August, the House Accounting department will begin notifying landlords to cancel district office leases. Texas House members will no longer be able to purchase supplies for their offices starting in mid-August.
For a full list of all the consequences, read Metcalf’s memo.
With House Democrats in Washington D.C., to prevent the passage of another restrictive voting bill, Article X is likely to remain unfunded going into August. As a result of Abbott’s petty political games, thousands of state employees are now poised to go without pay.
To protest this unfair treatment of hard-working state employees, the Texas State Employees Union will be hosting an informational picket in front of the Governor’s Mansion from 5–6 p.m. Thursday. Protestors will meet at the Texas AFL-CIO Headquarters in Austin and then walk across the street to the Governor’s Mansion. For additional info, contact TSEU Legislative Director Tyler Sheldon at TSheldon@CWA-TSEU.org