“While conservatives are naturally hesitant to broach a constitutional spending limit that has been in place for 30 years, the goal of property tax relief justifies such a vote tomorrow.

“Nine months ago, the legislature passed a truly historic property tax relief measure. Since property taxes are only levied at the local level, property tax relief funded by the state represents new state spending. The effect of this change is that the Texas Legislature will take on a greater share of the cost of public education. So massive is the property tax relief to begin this year and show up on our next property tax statement that it would be very difficult to cut the budget enough to stay under the state’s spending limit.

“Our legislative leadership has already signaled its intent to build a responsible budget. The introduced version of the budget would increase true general revenue spending by less than four percent over two years. This is likely less of an increase than the state’s population growth plus inflation.

“Texans need to understand that as long as current state spending increases at the low rate already proposed, a vote to exceed the constitutional spending cap is a vote for promised tax relief…and nothing more.”

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NOTE: The Honorable Talmadge Heflin served 11 terms in the Texas House and is a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He is presently a Visiting Research Fellow in the Center for Fiscal Policy Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute in Austin.