The Conservative Texas Budget (CTB), which sets growth limits on state appropriations and spending to no more than population growth plus inflation, has been in place for three regular sessions of the Texas Legislature. Its purpose is to provide Texas policymakers and the public with an upper limit on how much Texas state government should be spending. Spending below the limit is “conservative”; spending above the limit is not.

Key Points

  • The Conservative Texas Budget is a simple standard that the public can use in real time to see if policymakers are keeping spending growth to less than population growth plus inflation.
  • Since the introduction of the Conservative Texas Budget, spending of state funds has grown more slowly than it had in the previous decade.
  • The Foundation’s “appropriations to appropriations” methodology is more logical and accurate than the LBB’s “spending to appropriations” methodology for estimating spending growth.
  • With six opportunities over three budget cycles, the Legislature will likely have exceeded the Conservative Texas Budget 5 out of 6 times by the end of the 2020-21 biennium.