AUSTIN – Legislators should begin now to craft a 2014-2015 Texas state budget that preserves the foundations of fiscal responsibility and limited government that underlie the tremendous Texas economic and fiscal success of the past decade, according to Texans for a Conservative Budget, a coalition of policy and grassroots organizations.
The coalition released its recommendations at a Tuesday afternoon press conference at the Texas State Capitol. Organizations in the Texans for a Conservative Budget coalition include the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Americans for Prosperity-Texas, American Majority-Texas, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
The coalition’s recommendations, “Real Texas Budget Solutions: 2013 and Beyond,” rethink how Texas funds and operates state and local administration to reduce dependence on the government, foster economic growth, and deliver improved, streamlined services to Texans. The document also lists agencies and programs that should be reduced, consolidated, or eliminated.
“The Texans for a Conservative Budget coalition’s recommendations are several and resolve to one imperative: we must keep the engine of Texas jobs and prosperity running,” said Brooke Rollins, president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “In dark national economic times, our state still illuminates the American Dream. Texan families, workers, and business have done their part. It will be up to the men and women of the 83rd Texas Legislature to keep faith with them. These real Texas budget solutions show the way.”
“As Texas faces another large budget shortfall, it is critical to prioritize essential government functions,” said Julie Drenner of the Heartland Institute. “Therefore, reducing spending through cutting non-essential agencies and subsidies is a must. Our battle cry this session is, ‘reform it or eliminate it.'”
“Put simply, raising taxes and seeking new revenue sources are off the table for Texas taxpayers and voters, so it needs to be also for lawmakers. Looking ahead to the 83rd legislative session, legislators must demand right now that agencies re-double efforts to find inefficiencies and cut costs,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. “As they always do, special interests funded by tax-dollars will howl for more ever spending with less accountability. Legislators, however, would do well to remember that the right fiscal policy in 2013 is the right politics in 2012: reducing the burden of government ensures the long-term strength of the economy for all Texans.”
“Government has grown too big at all levels. While the federal debt is nearing $16 trillion, local government debt in Texas alone is $322 billion. We are saddling future generations with a legacy of spending and debt,” said Peggy Venable, director of Americans for Prosperity-Texas. “That is not the legacy we want to leave. Government spending and debt limit economic freedom. Putting limits on the size and scope of government allows future generations the opportunity to achieve the American dream.”
“In light of the fact that the largest federal tax increase in U.S. history will hit individuals, families, and employers throughout Texas in less than 10 short months, it is imperative that lawmakers in Austin not pile on with more job-killing tax increases at the state level,” said Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs for Americans for Tax Reform.
“Common sense budget reforms and a consistent focus on fiscal responsibility are critical for Texas’ growth as an economic power and as a magnet for millions of our fellow Americans who look to us as a haven from burdensome regulation and over-taxation,” said Raz Shafer, director of American Majority-Texas. “The coming legislative session will not be an easy one and it’s important that Texans stand up and are heard by their legislators as they demand a fiscally sound, fairly balanced budget.”
“It is time for decisive action on an unrelenting, focused plan to reform and restructure state government so that it fits into a constitution-sized box,” said JoAnn Fleming, chair of the advisory committee to the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus. “State government must get back to its core constitutional functions and do those few things efficiently and effectively, period.”
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