Thank you all for being here this morning on the second day of the 82nd Legislative Session.
Lt. Governor Dewhurst, Speaker Straus and I just wrapped up the first of our weekly breakfast meetings and I can tell you that we believe we're already on track to fulfill the expectations of our citizens a balanced budget with no tax increase.
As you know, the revenue estimate Comptroller Combs released this week reflects the lingering impact of the national recession but it also showed that our state's economy is still growing ahead of the nation's pace.
There is no shortage of commentators saying that we're on the verge of budgetary Armageddon but that is simply not true.
What is true is that government should tighten its belt just as Texas families and their employers have been doing for months.
Texans sent us a loud and clear message on Election Day making it clear they expect us to balance this budget without taking more money from employers and working families.
They want a leaner, more efficient state government and so do we.
So we're committed to helping Texas sustain its economic lead by remaining good stewards of taxpayer dollars making the right strategic investments and standing firm on the fiscal principles that have guided us through past budget challenges.
We have begun the challenging work of reconciling the House and Senate versions of the budget on our way to an agreement that reflects our key priorities and ensures our state will be financially strong in the years to come.
We start from a shared embrace of three guiding principles don't raise taxes work with the available revenue and evaluate all programs & agencies as we scrub the budget.
In the end, we intend to give the people what they want and deserve a fiscally responsible government which leads to more jobs, greater freedom and continued security in their communities and homes.
Now, I'd like to turn the microphone over to Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus to share their perspective on the challenges we face.
Thank you, gentlemen. The adventure has definitely begun.
We'd now be happy to answer questions from our friends in the working press here today.