Members of the Texas Conservative Budget Coalition are calling on lawmakers to keep state government growth at or under 6.2% in the 2016-17 biennium. Grassroots conservative leaders and budget experts gathered this morning in Austin to unveil a fiscally conservative vision for Texas. The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), the Lone Star State’s oldest and most respected conservative think tank, hosted the meeting between members of the media and leaders from an array of grassroots conservative organizations and advocacy groups representing taxpayers, small businesses, and students.
Former State Representative Talmadge Heflin, director for fiscal policy at TPPF, outlined the impetus behind establishing limits before appropriators hear budget requests from agencies. Heflin told attendees, “We believe it is important to get this number out at the beginning of the process rather than waiting until the end, when there’s a high likelihood any limit would be exceeded.” A comparison in economic performance between high-taxing, high-spending states with low-taxing, low-spending states rounded-out Heflin’s remarks laying-out the plan, with Heflin noting, “We believe that the economy of a state fares better when it is a low-tax, low-spend state. […] We believe it is in the best interest of all Texans to keep Texas a low-tax, low-spend state. […] We’ve demonstrated here in Texas that that maximizes the private sector’s ability for job creation.”
Member of the Texas Conservative Budget Coalition and Chair of the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee, JoAnn Fleming, provided praise for the plan on the basis of its ability to provide transparency to citizens and inject clarity into the budget debate saying, “Spending is actually much more than what the Legislative Budget Board and some of our elected officials tell us, […] the people of Texas deserve the truth about their state government. […] This gives grassroots groups an opportunity to go around the state and tell people what really goes on in Austin.”
Empower Texans President, Michael Quinn Sullivan stressed the importance of holding lawmakers accountable, “Only when we have a hard limit, can we make the right decisions and right choices with our spending. Every one of our families has to do the same thing. […] A hard limit allows Texans to judge the performance of their lawmakers.” Citing the last legislative session, Sullivan emphasized the importance of prioritizing vital state functions over waste, further commenting, “Everyone agrees, on water and roads, we have a real problem coming, and yet the legislature allocated precisely nothing of those historic inflows to infrastructure, instead we waited until the end of a third tag-along session to do something about it. […] Now, everyone has to go into the session asking, ‘do we want roads? Do we want water? Or do we want bobbles?”
Today begins the important work of ensuring our state’s prosperity by limiting government and keeping our state’s spending under control. TPPF and members of the Texas Conservative Budget Coalition will be working diligently through next session to ensure that citizens are well informed to hold their legislators accountable and ask the right questions of their state government. You can view the press conference in its entirety here. Learn more about the Texas Conservative Budget here.