AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – Officials at community colleges in Texas say they’re watching the state Legislature with a wary eye as lawmakers debate their next budget. But one East Texas lawmaker is voicing optimism on the issue. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that leaders at several North Texas community colleges warn of layoffs or other cutbacks if their state funding is reduced. Texas Association of Community Colleges officials say draft budget recommendations would reduce community college funding by 5 to 6% in the next two-year budget. The 2011 budget did not include cuts for community colleges. But at least one senator, Kevin Eltife of Tyler, says he doesn’t think community colleges will face a budget cut. Lawmakers have a surplus this year, but they also face a multibillion-dollar hole in Medicaid and possible new public education spending.