With the 83rd Texas Legislature one-third over, and conservatives off to a bad start, it's time to re-group and prioritize. To protect and strengthen Texas' economy, we need to alter the trajectory of state spending. The following five items will maintain Texas as place where entrepreneurs can risk their capital and achieve a decent rate of return.
- Texas Budget Compact -- Cahnman's Musings was an early supporter of the Texas Budget Compact. It remains our top priority, though we remain frustrated with Governor Perry's timidity. Limiting government spending is the foundation of prosperity.
- School Choice -- In order to limit state spending, you have to get education under control. K-12 Education remains 40% of state spending. For that money, K-12 education remains an array of boondoggles and bureaucracy. The CSCOPE scandal re-enforces what we already knew about public education. In order to keep state spending under control (and pre-empt the next CSCOPE), you need to take education dollars out of the hands of bureaucrats and put it into the hands of parents.
- Medicaid -- Medicaid has been the fastest growing component of state spending for two decades. In 2001, Medicaid was 14% of the budget; today it's 25%. If the Obamacare Medicaid expansion goes through, that will rise to 33%. Medicaid is a broken program that hurts the poor. We can't keep pouring money we don't have into a program that doesn't work.
- Pensions/Transparency -- Local government debt in Texas is $324 billion. Pension obligations are a big chunk of that debt. The interrelated issues of local debt and pension obligations are a time bomb the legislature should defuse before it becomes a crisis.
- Repeal the Margins Tax -- This atrociously designed tax is unworthy of a state like Texas; end it, don't mend it.