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Top Texas lawmaker says House budget will grow

A top Republican leader said Tuesday that Texans are “waking up” to the cuts made by the Texas House, and he vows to add more revenue to the bare-bones proposal.

Rep. Jim Pitts, who authored the budget bill in the House, said it could grow by as much as $5 billion before the legislative session ends in May. He said accounting tricks such as deferring payments and speeding up revenue collections were among the methods lawmakers would use to get more money.

Pitts made the comments two days after the House passed a bill that makes deep cuts in education, elderly care, college grants and other programs.

“I think the people are waking up,” Pitts said. “Yes we made cuts in their public schools, we made cuts in their nursing homes, we made cuts in hospitals.” Pitts said education spending would go down even after the restorations but told reporters that the House could “make the bill better.”