Investment or Bloat?

State agencies have spent months cutting their spending to help preserve Texas’ fiscal integrity. The Texas House is increasing the number of its committees. Is this budget bloat or a wise legislative investment?

One new committee is focused on government reform, the other on small business issues.

You’ll recall that House members voted recently to cut their office budgets by 10% during Session and 14% out of Session. Now, the cost of a new committee can run from a quarter-million up.

On one hand, there are those who might say growing the number of committees, and attendant committee staff positions, signals a lack of commitment to fiscal restraint at a time the rest of the state is being asked to do otherwise.

On the other hand, increasing the number of committees could be seen as improving the flow of legislation to ensure more hearings – especially on important topics like reforming the sunset process and overseeing the enactment of legislation, as well as addressing burdens on small business and economic growth.

As we’ve said since the November election, every decision made by the House – particularly in its internal operations – should be considered not only on its face, but reviewed later for the practical impact on public policy.

As my friend State Rep. Byron Cook reminded me last week: the outcomes of session are what matter most.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is the 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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