“Rather than make additional difficult decisions that needed to be made, the Senate’s proposed budget exceeds the House’s by more than $12 billion and relies heavily on one-time measures to pay for the higher spending. This is not the kind of budget that voters in November elected lawmakers to write.

“As we have noted in our past research, state government spending has grown at a tremendous rate over the past two decades. Between fiscal years 1990 and 2010, state appropriations have increased by 300 percent while population growth plus inflation have only increased by 115 percent. The Senate should adjust the state’s spending to fit what Texans can afford to pay, rather than using accounting gimmicks to continue this long-term pattern of overspending.

“There are still opportunities in the budget drafts to re-prioritize spending so that Texas can fund essential services without tapping the rainy day fund. We encourage legislators to focus their energies on these and save the rainy day fund for our state’s future needs, including the $10 billion to $15 billion price tag Texas will have to pay next session due to President Obama’s dramatic expansion of Medicaid.”

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.

Primary website: www.TexasPolicy.com Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/TexasPublicPolicyFoundation Twitter feed: www.Twitter.com/TPPF

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