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      Candidates response to budget shortfall

      We continue our week-long coverage of the race to replace David Swinford as district 87 state representative. The topic this time is the state budget. Texas is expected to have a shortfall in the billions of dollars.

      So we sat down with Four Price, and asked him what is his plan to secure funding for the panhandle?

      "I think you have to treat it the way you treat your personal household. You got to look at everything and my thinking is I would look across the board at cutting spending in every area before I looked at any area to raise taxes. In fact, I'm against raising taxes," said Four Price, the Republican District 87 candidate.

      Victor Leal, also a Republican candidate who couldn't go on camera, issued this response: "The reality of the pending state budget shortfall, is yet another reason why we need a businessman, not a lawyer, representing us in the legislature. At our restaurant, we have to live within our means everyday and so do our customers. Unlike Congress, Texas is constitutionally required to balance the budget. Congress needs this same requirement too as our federal deficit is out of control. Living within our means is how working families adapt to budget shortfalls and its how our state needs to adapt as well. First and foremost, I am strongly opposed to any new taxes and I will strongly oppose any call for a state income tax. When money is flush, our legislative delegation has to fight hard to make sure the Panhandle gets its fair share. Likewise, with a state budget deficit, our Panhandle delegation will need to fight to make sure whatever budget reductions are passed are fair and equitable for our area. Clearly, our Panhandle's needs for healthcare, highways, and higher education are all critical... but we can cope and work with whatever adjustments are necessary. Also, we are hopeful for an economic upswing in the near future and if we use the present time prudently, such as using 2011 to pass the enabling legislation for our 4-year Texas Tech medical school, then we will be ready and able to seek the necessary funding in 2013. Also, we must make sure our Panhandle public school districts are at, or above, the average target revenues for public education." Abel Bosquez, the Democrat candidate, issued this statement: "We are facing a budget shortfall in Texas and the people of District 87 will feel the pinch. The governor has asked all departments to trim their budgets by 5%, this will hurt everyone. Some of these departments provide police/fire protection, education, health care and jobs. I am against wastefulness of taxpayer's funds and we need to ensure that the Texas House of Representatives makes legitimate and efficient use of our taxes. When I am elected the representative of the 87th District, I will ensure that the Texas House of Representatives serves the needs of the District rather than the needs of the lobbyists or special interest groups." James Hudspeth, thet Libertarian candidate, issued this statement: "In lean times like the one we have now, it is the government's responsibility to bring spending down and not the taxpayers' responsibility to give more of our money in taxes. The state government and all the state agencies must face these hard times just like families and businesses. All government agencies, every last one of them, should be subject to budget cuts. The only fair way to handle this shortfall across the state government is a cut in every sector, across the board even if that cuts into government services."