Abbott Vetoes $120 Million from State’s New Budget: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: The Justice Department allows Baker Hughes to merge with General Electric, the Spurs have a new secondary logo, and Vince Young’s comeback campaign suffers a setback.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It said ‘To the estate of Allison Parken’, dated May 24th, saying I died May the 12th and my insurance was going away.”
—Allison Parken, who is very much alive and well, to WFAA. The Euless woman received a disconcerting letter from Social Security, alerting her to her own death.”But they did send her condolences,” Parken’s husband added. Parken then had to navigate bureaucratic red tape in order to convince the federal government that she is, in fact, not dead.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the state’s new $217 billion budget on Monday, but not before he cut about $120 million using line item vetoes, according to the Texas Tribune. Environmental programs took some of the biggest hits in Abbott’s budget slash—the governor cut about $87 million from the state’s Low-Income Vehicle Repair Assistance Program, which helps poorer Texans repair or replace high-emission vehicles. In a statement, Abbott said the program was “similar to the ill-conceived and dubious Cash for Clunkers program and should be abolished.” Abbott also cut about $6 million for air quality planning at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, saying that the bicycle programs and carpooling campaigns that it pays for “can be funded at the local government level.” And Abbott rounded off his big environmental budget slash by cutting about $2 million meant for a study on brackish groundwater. Environmental advocates were not too pleased with Abbott’s heavy use of the red ink. Brian Zabcik, a clean air and water advocate for the group Environment Texas, told the Austin American-Statesman that Abbott’s defunding of environmental programs is “penny wise and pound foolish,” adding that “It sacrifices the long-term health of all Texans for an imagined financial gain.” Abbott also cut about $860,000 from assistance programs from impoverished colonias along the border, saying the communities receive enough funding from other sources.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
All Together Now
The U.S. Department of Justice finally allowed Houston-based energy giant Baker Hughes to join with General Electric, approving the merger on Monday after GE agreed to sell some of its company in order to appease the DOJ’s antitrust concerns, according to Bloomberg. “Today’s milestone represents significant progress toward creating an oil and gas productivity leader positioned to deliver value for customers, employees, and shareholders,” GE and Baker Hughes said Monday in a statement together. As part of the agreement, GE has to get rid of its water and process technologies business. The deal makes the conjoined company the biggest in the energy industry, offering oilfield services, equipment manufacturing, and technology. Both companies saw their stocks shoot up after the deal was approved, and it’s a good deal for everyone. According to Bloomberg, the new mega-company will keep the Baker Hughes name, and it’ll overtake Halliburton as the world’s second-largest oilfield-service provider and equipment-maker.
The San Antonio Spurs revealed a snazzy new secondary logo on Monday, according to the San Antonio Express-News. It’s a far more modern take than previous logos, with a minimalist black-and-white design featuring the letters “S” and “A” in white over what appears to be a black basketball. Very hip. According to the Express-News, San Antonio Spurs, LLC filed multiple trademark applications for the new logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 7, but the applications have not yet been approved. The team didn’t comment, but the Express-News says the new logo will be used on team merchandise. This is the second new look for the Spurs so far this summer—before the NBA Draft lottery last month, the Spurs unveiled some new snapback hats on the team’s NBA store, featuring a new insignia that turned the “u” in “Spurs” into an actual spur.
Legendary University of Texas at Austin quarterback Vince Young’s comeback campaign took a turn on Monday when his current coach, Chris Jones of the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, told reporters that Young would miss the first four to six weeks of the upcoming season with an injury, according to ESPN. Young tore his hamstring last week and sat out Saturday’s preseason game against Winnipeg, but apparently he’ll need more time to recover. The CFL season starts June 22. It’s a huge blow to Young’s attempt to revive his pro career, and ultimately leaves his future in doubt. The 34-year-old signed a two-year contract with a second-year option with the Roughriders back in March. He last played a regular season game in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, and he announced his retirement in 2014 after being cut by the Cleveland Browns.
WHAT WE’RE READING
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Greg Abbott vs. trees Texas Tribune
Is Ted Cruz turning a corner and winning some actual, real friends in D.C.? Bloomberg
A road trip through Texas food and politics Eater
Battleship Texas almost sank on Monday KHOU
A 72-year-old Brownsville grandfather is getting ready to climb Mount Everest Brownsville Herald