"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
84th #TXLEGE Preview?!?
Continuing his pattern of undermining conservatives and deceiving voters, House Speaker Joe Straus is poised to unravel the state’s border security operations on Dec. 1, while giving Democrats a political tool to use against conservatives. Due to Straus’ opposition, the state’s celebrated “border surge” is set to end in March rather than receive full funding through the end of the fiscal year.C-Pax has more:
A new deadline is looming. On Dec. 1, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) will meet to consider a proposal to extend state funding for border security operations which are currently set to expire. Under law, the LBB can shift funds within the budget when the legislature is not in session.
While responsible conservative leaders want the border security funding extended through the end of the fiscal year (August 2015), Straus told the Houston Chronicle last week he would only agree to extend funding until March. This shortfall will result in an immediate “winding down” of the border surge. The Houston Chronicle called it a “defeat” for border-security conservatives and a “victory for Democrats who have sharply criticized the National Guard deployment.”
Worse, the move gives Democrats a political tool to use against conservatives in the coming session.
POLITICAL COVER FOR MASSIVE NEW SPENDING INCREASES
Straus’ efforts are designed to create a crisis next session which will empower Democrats to hold border security funding hostage to massive new spending increases.
As you know, Straus has relied on the support of the Left since first being elected Speaker in 2009 by the Democrats and 11 liberal Republicans. By cutting off funding for border security operations in March, Straus is lending the Left a distinct political advantage while handing a defeat to Texans wanting to protect our borders. When funds dry up in March, the withdrawal of the National Guard will create a crisis that can be exploited by Straus and the Democrats to bust the state’s constitutional spending cap.
Instead of meeting border security needs with existing funds, Straus will offer a new spending package in excess of the constitutional spending limit as the only option for maintaining the border deployment. Conservatives will be forced to choose between continued funding for border security, and busting the constitutional cap on spending, a move which would empower Democrats to spend billions on Medicaid funding and other pet projects instead of tax relief for hard working Texans.
With the 84th session of the Texas Legislature still over a month away, big-spending politicians are already scheming on how to massively expand the next state budget, all while claiming fiscal discipline.Read the original pieces here and here.
The main obstacle to the grow-government crowd is our constitutional spending limit on the growth of appropriations commonly referred to as “the spending cap.” However, given the way the limit is calculated, it becomes clear that it proves only a small hurdle to budget bloat.
Under our constitution, the growth of appropriations from non-constitutionally-dedicated tax revenue may not exceed growth in the state’s economy—as defined by the legislature (Article 8, Section 22). As per state law, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB)—a handful of powerful legislators—must set this new spending cap for the upcoming legislative session.
On Dec. 1, the LBB will meet to set the cap based on this measurement. Preliminary reports in the Texas Register show that the board will likely consider a limit reflecting an increase in personal income growth that is twice the rate of population and inflation growth—between 11.7% and 15.7%.
To put this number in perspective, the Texas Public Policy Foundation has calculated that a budget limited to the combined increase in population and inflation should cap growth at 6.2%.
There is a different path the LBB could take: under current law, the LBB could just as easily adopt a population-plus-inflation limit that more faithfully represents economic growth and safeguards citizens from virtually unrestrained government expansion.
Texans deserve a conservative budget. Our state cannot have a conservative budget if it does not have realistic, limits that adequately protect taxpayers from budget-busting politicians.
Readers can contact the Legislative Budget Board at (512) 463-1185.