Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper Budgeting for Fiscal Year 2021 and Beyond.

“This year’s budgeting season is unlike any other,” said TPPF’s James Quintero. “Government lockdowns and falling oil prices have given rise to the most challenging fiscal environment seen in modern times. Countless cities, counties, and school districts are currently grappling with declining revenues and widening budget gaps, setting the stage for a raft of difficult decisions in the coming months.

Complicating fiscal matters is Texas’s weakened economy. To date, approximately 3.2 million Texans have filed for unemployment since mid-Marchthe state’s unemployment rate stood at 8.6% in June 2020, and sales tax revenue declined 6.5% from the previous year.

While most experts expect a robust recovery at some point in the future, our immediate economic outlook remains anemic and uncertain.

The crises we face are great. Our response should be greater. We must meet this moment with reason and resolve, with discernment and determination. Our aim must be ambitious. We must move our institutions in a bold, new direction that is both principled and practical.

This is no time for business as usual. Today’s challenges require operationalizing a fundamentally different framework grounded in strict fiscal discipline and common sense. The goal must be to prioritize the family budget over the government’s budget.

Such a change can come about in many ways. However, a few specific approaches deserve mentioning.

  • Commit to No New Taxes
  • Cut Existing Taxes
  • Delay Going into Debt
  • Embrace Efficiency
  • Employ Zero-Based Budgeting
  • Rightsize Payroll Costs

If faithfully implemented over the course of the coming fiscal year and beyond, the recommendations above will remake local government for the better, boost public confidence, and hasten the return of revenues.”

To read the paper in full, please visit:

https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2020/08/12162122/Quintero-Budgeting-for-Fiscal-Year-2021.pdf