AUSTIN – Yesterday, the Lieutenant Governor released interim charges for the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, the Senate Committee on Economic Development, and the Senate Committee on Government Organization. The topics of study include: local government debt, ballot-box transparency; and the effectiveness of state economic-development programs. The Texas Public Policy Foundation applauds the issuance of these charges and looks forward to working with the appropriate committees to study these issues.
“The Lieutenant Governor is right to focus the Texas Senate’s interim activities on state economic development programs and the utility of such programs in keeping Texas economically competitive,” said Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy. “As the Senate explores this issue over the course of the coming year, I am confident that lawmakers will conclude that using state tax dollars to pick winners and losers is not sound public policy. Rather, the best way to keep Texas competitive is by keeping taxes low, regulations predictable, and generally getting government out of the way of the private sector.”
“From 2000 to 2009, population and inflation grew a combined 45 percent. Yet over that same period local debt grew a combined 144 percent, contributing to Texas becoming the state with the 2nd highest local debt per capita of the megastates,” said James Quintero, Director of the Center for Local Governance, “This explosion of local government debt poses a serious threat to the Texas Model of low taxes and limited government. The need for meaningful reform is real, which is why I’m pleased to see the Lieutenant Governor focus the attention and resources of the Texas Senate on such a serious threat.”
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.