"At the start of this session, we calculated the amount the state budget could increase without creating an additional burden for Texas taxpayers. Keeping the increase in the state budget to roughly 9 percent and in line with estimated population and inflation growth over the coming biennium, we applauded the Legislature for staying near that limit with confidence that Gov. Perry's line items would further ensure that taxpayers did not feel the growth of state government in their pocketbooks. We are pleased that Gov. Perry found ways to save additional areas in the budget and establish clear limits on state obligations.

"In particular, we supported the Governor's efforts to increase transparency in budgeting, particularly in higher education where special items funding has become the equivalent to Washington-style pork barrel spending with earmarks for every institution. Higher education funding has climbed each session without accountability for how those dollars are spent, and the special items are often areas outside the mission of the institutions themselves. We have encouraged legislators to change the funding structure for higher education and applaud the Governor for taking a close look at higher education spending that is not central to the mission of the universities and is almost never related to student learning."

– 30 –