“We congratulate the conference committee on CSHB 1 for finalizing an agreement on a 2012-13 Texas state budget. We encourage our legislators to complete their constitutional duty and adopt this budget when it reaches the House and Senate floors on Saturday.

“The 2012-13 all-funds budget will be $15 billion lower than in the current biennium, but $12 billion of that difference comes from the expiration of the federal stimulus package. Just as those one-time stimulus funds artificially inflated the current budget, the end of those funds makes it look like the Texas Legislature cut deeper than it really did. Nevertheless, this is the first cut in an all-funds Texas state budget from the prior biennium in at least half a century. Texas is leading the way in showing that government can be made smaller – and that’s an example for all of America.

“While much of state government will see budget reductions during the next two years, the general revenue increases for public education and health and human services demonstrate that the Legislature allocated our state’s limited resources in a targeted way.

“The Texas economy is steadily improving, but the next Legislature will likely have to confront a dramatic increase in Medicaid caseload and costs, as well as a long-term solution on school finance. For these reasons, we encourage our legislators to keep scrutinizing state agencies for efficiencies as well as activities that our state can do without.”

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.

Texans for a Conservative Budget website: www.ConservativeBudget.com Texans for a Conservative Budget commercials: www.YouTube.com/TexasPPF

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