“Last November, Texas voters sent a loud and unambiguous message that they wanted government to live within its means. Tonight, the Texas House delivered a budget bill for the next biennium that does just that.
“As Chairman Jim Pitts noted, Texas has about $5 billion less in general revenue than it did two years ago and the budget approved tonight reflects that. The House wisely recognized – as they always have – that a ‘current services’ approach to budgeting is a false premise, and that the 18 percent spending increase that would have resulted from this approach would have crippled our state’s future.
“A responsible budget always requires diligent effort – even more so when funds are limited. We appreciate the hard work of the members who brought forward their ideas, contributed to the debate, and registered their positions on how the state should set its priorities.
“Rep. Phil King’s amendment to require separate enabling legislation for the bill’s $100 million in fee increases is an important victory. Requiring the normal practice be followed for raising fees is an important transparency measure so that legislators and the public can know in advance how much those fees will be raised and for what purposes they will be used.
“We trust that when the Senate receives the bill, they will review the House’s work, add in their best ideas, and also approve a budget that remains within available revenue.”
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.
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