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Preparing for planting (irrigation circles) and extraction (white web of rectangular gas well heads). (Image: Jan Buchholtz via Flickr)

Oil bust sends Texas budget writers back to work; what now?

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The biggest Texas oil bust in decades has lawmakers taking stock of the fallout as other energy producing states slash spending.

House budget writers are meeting Tuesday for the first time in 2016 to figure out how much the oil and gas downturn is hurting the state’s bottom line. Oil prices fell in the past two years from above $100 to under $30 at times, plunging to 12-year lows.

Republican leaders in Texas have urged calm. Gov. Greg Abbott signed a budget last year that left billions of dollars unspent and the Texas economy is more diversified now than during previous busts.

Other oil-producing states, such as Oklahoma and Louisiana, are grappling with big budget shortfalls in wake of the downturn.

Related: US rig count drops to 443 this week, Texas loses 7

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