Big, Bad Growth

You know how we Texans like to brag about being a limited government, low-tax state? New analysis from the Tax Foundation says otherwise. From 2001-2011, real per-capita direct government spending rose 32.9 percent in the Lone Star State — putting us at #15 in the nation.

Yes, it’s good not to be #1, but frankly #15 isn’t a happy place either.

The worst part is that this doesn’t include the spend-it-all, super-jumbo-size, budget-busting irresponsibility of the 2013 legislative session. (According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, state lawmakers spent 24% more in 2013 than in 2011.)

As the Wall Street Journal wrote in June:

The danger is that Texas will repeat the fiscal mistake that California has made repeatedly: spend during the glory days and, once the economy slows, raise taxes to cover the deficit. The Texas oil patch is riding high on $95 a barrel oil and a doubling in production in four years. But Texans shouldn’t forget the lesson of the 1980s and late 1990s that oil prices are volatile and a decline can be painful and prolonged.


This new analysis from the Tax Foundation looks at real, per-capita spending; that means they are taking both population and inflation into account.

We cannot keep the Lone Star State shining bright if we’re replacing myths for sound public policy. Texans need legislators willing to govern right, not shuffle spending and make excuses.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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