“I commend House Speaker Joe Straus for promoting the cause of budget transparency. State fees should be collected only for their stated purpose. Legislators should end the practice of hoarding these fees to balance the state budget and hiding the true cost of government from taxpayers.
“Legislators should also disavow the misuse of dedicated funds to certify the state budget as balanced. During the last decade, the amount of General Revenue-Dedicated fund balance used to certify the budget has almost tripled to $4.9 billion.
“The Texas Public Policy Foundation has recognized budget transparency as a needed reform, also calling for zero-based budgeting and program-based budgeting to be used during the process of crafting the budget so that lawmakers and the taxpayers can better understand how state government spends taxpayer money.”
Talmadge Heflin is director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Heflin served 11 terms in the Texas House and chaired the Appropriations Committee in 2003, leading the 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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