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Government/Politics

Straus: A Trump Presidency Should Mean Decreased State Border Spending

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Ryan Poppe
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Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus says the State of Texas should not have to spend as much on border security in the next budget because incoming President Donald Trump says that’s his top priority. The Speaker would like to see Washington pick up a bigger part of the bill. 

In 2015, state lawmakers approved more than $750 million to fund the Texas Department of Public Safety’s border security operation in the Rio Grande Valley.  Public Safety is now asking for more than a billion state dollars to expand the state’s border efforts. 

Straus told the Texas Tribune Tuesday that an increase in state dollars shouldn’t be necessary because president-elect Donald Trump has made border security a top federal priority. 

“We cannot keep virtually doubling the border security budget for the State of Texas every two years.   I do think border security in whatever form it takes is going to be a more serious concern for this administration.  And anything that alleviates the budget from a job we shouldn’t have to be doing in the first place, I’m strongly supportive," Straus explains.

Straus says he’s also not interested in a restrictive transgender bathroom bill like the one that passed in North Carolina.  It prompted the NBA to pull out of an All-Star event in Charlotte.  Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the issue will get top attention in the Texas Senate. Straus says that’s not likely to happen in the House. He doesn’t want to jeopardize San Antonio’s opportunity to host the 2018 NCAA Final Four

“This isn’t the most urgent concern of mine, but, I’m not hearing, my district isn’t really communicating with me that this is an urgent concern," Straus says.

What Straus does want to tackle in the session that begins in January is increased funding for foster care and mental health.  And he wants a change in the way funding for public schools is calculated. 

“I stressed during the interim that we need to address school finance in a very serious way.  And I think going forward I think it’s very important for members to be in tune with their districts.  One of the issues I’ve been stressing is the proliferation of Robin Hood, of recapture," Straus says.

Robin Hood refers to the current school finance system that takes tax dollars from property-rich school districts and redistributes them to school districts with less.