“We congratulate the Texas Legislature on passing a budget that cuts non-essential spending, does not spend a penny of the rainy day fund, and does not create new taxes. The mandate from Texas voters last November was to pass a fiscally responsible budget, and the 82nd Legislature delivered.

“This is the first all-funds Texas state budget that is smaller than its predecessor in at least half a century. The importance of this is difficult to overstate.

“At a time when Washington, D.C., can’t bring itself to confront a debt crisis resulting from its reckless overspending, America looks to Texas for principled conservative governance. Texas now shows the nation that fiscal restraint and spending cuts are not just objectively necessary, but politically possible. In that light, we congratulate the Legislature for resisting the temptation to follow other large states like California and Illinois down the tax-and-spend death spiral.

“The Texas model of low taxes, small government, and fiscal responsibility works. This budget preserves the Texas way that has resulted in our state leading the nation in job growth and economic performance.

“This 2012-13 budget is a good first step, but it is only a first step in resolving Texas’ long-term fiscal challenges. Difficult as the choices were in this biennium, they will only be more so in the next. When the 83rd Legislature meets in 2013, the storm of Medicaid expansion will be upon us and the implementation of ObamaCare will be right around the corner. The decisions made in this budget – especially in the preservation of the rainy day fund – partially equip Texas to face these issues. But we must be aware that profoundly difficult choices remain ahead.”

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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