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      Valley lawmakers bleak about state, federal budget cuts

      State Rep. J.M. Lozano, D- Kingsville, said that after the deep budget cuts approved during the Texas 82nd Legislative Session, "the (Rio Grande Valley) is one of the only parts in this country that can withstand these cuts."

      He added that Valley is resilient, tenacious and never gives up - and with the approved budget - it might have to be. Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. described it as a budget of, "cuts, cuts and more cuts."

      Lucio said voting against the budget was the easiest decision he's made in Austin.

      "It was bad for the state, and even worse for the Valley," Lucio said. "The budget contained nearly $1 billion in cuts to higher education; over $4 billion in cuts in public education; and over $6 billion in reduced funding to health and human services."

      However, Valley legislators also got some issues to fall their way - like killing the sanctuary cities bill which would've given local law-enforcement agencies the task of detaining and arresting illegal immigrants.

      "Can you name a sanctuary city?" Rep. Rene Oliveira, D- Brownsville, asked. "Can you tell me one that has a banner up, that says we welcome illegal TMs in our community? They could never find one, and they never did. It was a bogus issue and the solution was even more bogus. That bill would've (resulted) with racial profiling in our community."

      Lozano said Texas, with the eighth largest economy in the world, needs business owners to continue investing in the economy and help to keep Texas afloat.

      The freshman legislator is also pushing for a guest worker program which he said would make positive impact for years to come.

      "Because my grandfather was so committed to providing for his family, a Bracero program, gave him that opportunity which I believe our federal government should reinstate," Lozano said. "I believe that I TMm living proof of that success I TMm here today, as a business owner with 42 employees, who pays taxes, who contributes to society and is living the American Dream."