Pitts, House appropriations chairman, to retire


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The powerful chairman of the Texas House Appropriations Committee is retiring.

Waxahachie Rep. Jim Pitts announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election. The veteran Republican has served as the chief budget-writer in the House five times since 2003.

Pitts was first elected to the House in 1993 and is considered one of the most skilled politicians in the Texas Capitol. But he has also come under criticism by tea party supporters who believe he is too moderate.

Pitts served under both Republican and Democratic leadership during his tenure and said he hopes the Texas Legislature's tradition of bipartisanship and collegiality will continue.

Crafting the budget is the only absolute duty of the Legislature and is the toughest job lawmaker's face. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed sadness at Pitt's announcement.

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