A possible $1 billion general revenue bill due in early 2015 has legislators looking for options.
AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report entitled “Busting Texas’ 2014-15 Spending Limit” by Center for Fiscal Policy Director Talmadge Heflin and Economist Vance Ginn, Ph.D. The report examines spending trends and recommends steps to prevent exceeding the Lone Star State’s constitutional spending limit.
“Texans are burdened with funding a state government that’s grown by almost 9 percent more than population plus inflation since 2004. This costs Texas families of four more than a thousand dollars this year alone to fund excessive state spending,” said Ginn. “Those dollars could go towards many other options of their choosing if state officials reined in the footprint of government. A real conservative Texas budget would go a long way toward providing what Texans in need deserve most: opportunity to realize their dreams, better their fortunes, and strive for the same Texas Dream open to everyone else. Instead, it looks like Texas families from all walks of life could face an even larger tab.
“Current Texas spending trends signal the unfortunate scenario where 2014-15 state expenditures will exceed the constitutional spending limit. This is driven primarily by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s request of $2.6 billion in all funds to fully fund Medicaid and other expenditures, including $1 billion in non-dedicated general revenue. If no action is taken by state officials, this would require a costly supplemental bill early in the 2015 Legislative Session.”
“The current spending limit of $85.2 billion in non-dedicated general revenue available in the 2013 Legislative Session leaves $263 million available to spend for the biennium. If no other changes are made, spending another billion dollars in non-dedicated general revenue pushes spending $737 million above the limit,” said Heflin. “State officials should be good stewards of taxpayer dollars by taking steps to reduce current expenditures in order to not exceed the constitutional spending limit. This would avoid the ratcheting up effect of future spending levels and leave Texas families with more opportunity to prosper.”
To read the full report, visit: http://txpo.li/busting-texas-spending-limit
The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In the 78th Session, Heflin served as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D. is an Economist in the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.