AUSTN (KXAN) - Even if the worse-case scenario plays out for Texas under the looming forced federal budget cuts, one longtime player in the Texas Capitol predicts that the state "will be just fine."
Talmadge Heflin, a former House Appropriations Committee chairman who now heads the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, said the state will be able to handle the expected drop-off in federal funds, especially in the public education realm.
The state's education budget, Heflin said, will likely be about $50 billion. The cuts from the sequestration will be less than $400 million, he said.
"In my opinion, there's going to be no effect," Heflin said on Sunday's edition of "In Session, In-Depth. "I think Texas will be just fine."
But Eva De Luna Castro of the more liberal Center for Public Policy Priorities, said the cuts will be profound for Texans in need, including kids in special education programs and assistance nutrition assistance for low-income expectant mothers.
"The need still exist," she said. "Charity, food pantries can only do so much."
Dallas Morning News Reporter Robert Garrett, who was part of the round-table discussion moderated by KXAN's Josh Hinkle, pointed that how the cut are felt will likely depend on where you live.
Communities in affluent suburbs that receive modest federal assistance will be OK, Garrett said. But military communities like Fort Hood, where the local economy is tied directly to defense-related activity, will likely see diminished income and lower consumer spending immediately, he said.
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