AUSTIN – Seven policy, business, and grassroots organizations have banded together to form Texans for a Conservative Budget, a coalition that will urge the Texas Legislature to approve a 2012-13 state budget that cuts non-essential programs, does not raise taxes or fees, and does not tap the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund. The coalition debuted at a Texas Capitol press conference this morning.

“We are pleased to stand with some of our state’s most respected and influential organizations,” said TPPF Executive Director Arlene Wohlgemuth. “These groups are committed to helping our legislators pass a responsible budget that Texans can afford.”

The founding members of Texans for a Conservative Budget include:

– Texas Public Policy Foundation – Americans for Prosperity-Texas – Americans for Tax Reform – Empower Texans – Heartland Institute – Liberty Institute – National Federation for Independent Business-Texas

The budget approved by the Texas House last weekend is a good start toward achieving the goals of the coalition, according to Talmadge Heflin, Director of TPPF’s Center for Fiscal Policy and former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

“While the House did yeoman’s work in delivering a solid budget that is within existing revenue, there are still identified opportunities to find additional savings and free up funds for higher priorities,” Heflin said. “The Senate should focus its energies on implementing those rather than looking for new revenues and accounting gimmicks to continue government as usual.”

At the press conference, Heflin emphasized the importance of not tapping the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund for the 2012-13 state budget.

“Two years ago, the state of Texas used one-time money – the federal stimulus funds – to buy government services that we knew we couldn’t afford,” Heflin said. “We shouldn’t make that same mistake again by tapping our rainy day fund for ongoing expenses. It may be raining today, but we need to hold back as much of the fund as we can to deal with the storm of Medicaid expansion that will hit Texas in two years.”

The Honorable Arlene Wohlgemuth is the Executive Director and Director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. She served 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives, specializing in health care issues.

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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