Texas Gov. Orders State Agencies to Cut Budgets

Austin, TX – Texas Governor Rick Perry has ordered state agencies to cut their budgets and brace for economic decline.

But The Associated Press reports the Texas House is renovating its members lounge with new furnishings, televisions, a refrigerator and other upgrades.

Aides to House Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland confirm state tax dollars are being used for the upgrade.

AP reports the renovation apparently includes $30,000 worth of antique wood as well as new carpet and foodservice improvements.

Watchdog groups say it's the wrong time to spend government dollars on a members-only lounge for politicians.

House accountant Steve Adrian says state representatives have long complained that their private lounge, just off the House floor, is shabby to compared to the Senate's lounge.

AP reports that on Oct. 10, the House paid Austin-based Vintage Materials Supply $30,600, which sells antique wood. Adrian said the purchase might be related to the installation of new wood cabinets.

The State Preservation Board has also been asked to upgrade electrical and plumbing systems.

Craddick's aides say the money for the renovation came from Texas taxpayers.

Spokeswoman Alexis DeLee says the funds used to pay for the renovation will come from unexpended balances from the House appropriation.