AUSTIN - The Texas House of Representatives has approved Senate Joint Resolution 1, a constitutional amendment that sets up a scenario to raid the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), or state savings account, for billions in the upcoming biennium. By tapping the ESF for billions at a time when state revenues have increased by record amounts from the previous biennium, Texas lawmakers are setting bad precedent.
"This bill puts in motion a plan to raid the state's ESF for billions at a time when the state is enjoying unequalled prosperity," said Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy. "There is simply no excuse for lawmakers to tap the state's savings account for water infrastructure projects when there is ample General Revenue funds in the budget to pay for the state's needs. The Legislature is simply failing to prioritize."
Heflin continued, "To make matters worse, the structure in which the Legislature is proposing to fund these water projects is cause for concern. To get around the state's spending cap, lawmakers are constitutionally dedicating the ESF monies to avoid a politically toxic vote. This is not the ideal way to run government."
For a full rundown of the Foundation's positions on the various budget bills, go here: http://www.texaspolicy.com/center/fiscal-policy/blog/tppf-closing-days-83rd-regular-session
The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Heflin served 11 terms in the Texas House of Representatives and chaired the House Appropriations Committee in 2003, leading the Texas Legislature's successful efforts to close a $10 billion budget deficit without a tax increase.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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