AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation commends House Speaker Joe Straus for his creation today of a House Interim Committee on General Revenue Dedicated Accounts.
“We applaud Speaker Joe Straus for creating this special committee to move Texas closer to an honest and transparent budget,” said Talmadge Heflin, director of TPPF’s Center for Fiscal Policy. “Funds collected from taxpayers for a specific purpose should either be spent for that purpose or refunded to those who paid them.”
“A gradual elimination of the practice of funds consolidation would be a simple, effective, and practical measure that could be easily implemented by the Texas Legislature,” said TPPF fiscal policy analyst James Quintero. “We recommend that General Revenue Dedicated (GRD) funds used for certification in the next budget be rolled back to the 2010-11 levels and capped. The Legislature should also commit to a gradual phase-out of GRD funds for budget certification over the following three biennia. Legislators should end the practice of hoarding these fees to balance the state budget.”
During the past decade, the Texas Legislature has nearly tripled the amount of General Revenue-Dedicated (GR-D) funds used in accounting maneuvers to “balance” the state budget. The 2002-03 state budget was certified using $1.8 billion in GR-D fund balances; this amount has surged to $4.9 billion in the current two-year budget.
Talmadge Heflin is director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. 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.
James Quintero is a fiscal policy analyst for the Center for Fiscal Policy with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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