With predictions of a tight budget when lawmakers return, liberals are looking longingly at tapping into the state’s savings account to fund pet projects and expand the size of government. Rather than cut spending and live within their means, many legislators are clamoring for the state to raid the Economic Stabilization Fund also known as the “rainy day fund.”
Signaling his support for those wishing to take a hammer to the state’s piggy bank, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) has appointed State Rep. Sarah Davis (R–West University Place) to co-chair a select committee to determine the balance of the ESF.
Howard, one of the most liberal Democrats in the legislature, made headlines just yesterday by writing an op-ed in the Austin-American Statesman where she advocated tapping into state savings and bringing Obamacare to Texas as “painless solutions for the Texas budget” while also arguing against tax relief and school choice.
“First and foremost, we can shore up critical programs by tapping into the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, until the economy rebounds as anticipated,” wrote Howard. “This fund, which will soon have a balance of over $10 billion, was created specifically for times like this, in order to smooth over temporary dips in the economy. Second, we should finally adopt some form of Medicaid expansion… Third, we must avoid any further self-inflicted budgetary missteps and say no to politicized efforts to eliminate the franchise tax or divert public dollars to private schools.”
Straus also appointed State Reps. Lyle Larson (R–San Antonio), Drew Springer (R–Muenster), and Armando Walle (D–Houston) to the committee as well. The group joins conservative State Sens. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston) and Don Huffines (R–Dallas), who Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed to the committee.