While public school finance and property tax reform have been the main focal points for state lawmakers, who are now back to work in Austin, the debate over Texas's role in border security is not going away, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
In the last budget cycle, Texas spent $800 million on border security. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to keep that in the upcoming budget. On top of that, he's floating the idea of Texas building part of a border wall. It struck a chord with President Donald Trump, who visited the border last week.
"One of the things that Dan Patrick suggested, which I thought was very interesting, was give the state of Texas a relatively small amount of money," he said. "They’ll build the wall themselves because they want to build it. And I thought that was not the worst idea I’ve ever heard. I still think I can do it cheaper than you. You do things very well in Texas, and I like that idea, so we’ll take a look."
The question remains that, if the federal government cannot agree on a wall funding, where will the money come from?
And Texans border land would need to be seized by the state, not the federal government, increasing the cost to taxpayers.
The plan does not sit well with Michaela Gámez. Her family owns ranchland south of Donna, TX, near Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. While her family supports border security, they're opposed to a wall that would cut across a family cemetery.
"That's my family's history. I can’t wait to take my kids there, and hear the stories from the elders in my family about how they helped preserve the Texas culture and how they fought for Texas to become independent. That cemetery represents who I am who my family is."
Texas building a border wall also doesn't sit well with Democrats in the state legislature like Chris Turner (D-Arlington), who took his outrage to Twitter after reading the Lt. Gov.'s idea.
"Texans want to build schools, not walls. This ludicrous proposal from (President Trump) and (Dan Patrick) is inhumane and un-Texan. Our focus this session should be on bringing people together, not finding new ways to sow fear and division."