Tuesday, September 25, 2018

#TXLEGE: Conservative Budget Coalition announces Comprehensive List of Fiscal Priorities!!!

"Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;"
Proverbs 27:23

The Conservative Budget coalition is one of the most effective actions Texas conservatives have taken in recent years.  It began in 2014, following the budget debacle of the 83rd legislature.  It sets a top line number for budget growth that would hold per capita state spending constant.  It's the reason why both the 84th and 85th legislatures passed budgets that, while far (especially in the 85th) from perfect, met a minimum threshold of acceptability.

The coalition held a press conference this morning to announce its priorities.  The most important takeaway is that they're asking for more.  In addition to a maximum spending target, they're asking for several other fantastic fiscal reforms.

$234.1 Billion.  That's the top line number for a two-year state budget that will hold state spending constant per Texan.  This still allows for inflation and population growth.  This translates to an 8% budget cycle over budget cycle spending increase.

But the coalition wants to do more.  Instead of acquiescing to an 8% state spending increase, the coalition wants to limit the state to 4%.  The difference will then be directed to a Tax Relief Fund that will be used to "buy down" school district taxes.  This will provide immediate relief to taxpayer and, if followed over time, eventually eliminate the largest component of Texans property tax bill.  This is the TPPF plan we've discussed.

For us, the best part of today's press conference was that it broke down why the TPPF plan and the Governor's plan complement each other.  The TPPF plan is designed to provide immediate relief on the largest part (school districts) of the tax bill.  The Governor's plan is designed to make sure cities, counties, and special purpose districts don't spend the resulting savings.  The reason why you have to treat school districts differently from cities, counties, and special purpose districts is because of Robin Hood (which the TPPF plan also begins to address).

The plan finally calls for various spending limits, eliminating the margins tax, and various transparency measures.  All of these things are good ideas.  We'd support any!

Bottom Line: If the next legislature wants to know how to make the grassroots happy, today's press conference is a good place to start.


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