“Sen. Dan Patrick and Rep. Ken Paxton deserve praise for taking this bold step to protect Texas’ economic future. The tax and expenditure limit proposed in Senate Bill 928 and House Bill 994 is a great improvement over the current provision.

“Population growth plus inflation is an appropriate government spending limit because it caps the cost of government per person. It says that this is how big we want Texas state government to be – and no bigger.

“The current state spending limit that the voters approved in the late 1970’s has been ineffective in slowing the expansion of government. The Legislative Budget Board openly ignored this constitutional amendment throughout the 1980’s. Even when the spending limit was tied to growth in personal income in 1992, it never factored into the state’s budget process until last session, when an exceptionally large appropriation was made to buy down the school property tax.

“If the provision in Senate Bill 928 and House Bill 994 had been in place and followed by the legislature between 1990 and 2007, Texas taxpayers would have kept more than $320 billion in their pockets rather than sending them to Austin. We can’t give taxpayers those dollars back, but we can let them keep more of their own going forward.”

The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. 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. More information can be found on the Foundation’s website, www.TexasPolicy.com.

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