“I think, therefore I spend” is the motto of most polticians and it isn’t any different here in Texas. You might say at least Texas isn’t as bad as Washington DC but that really isn’t saying much. In 1978, Texas passed a constitutional amendment to limit government growth and out of control spending but the wording is so vague that Republicans and Democrats alike have ignored it. In fact, not only has the Texas government continued to grow but it has experienced a growth spurt! Texans would have paid $40 billion (yes billion) less in taxes since 1990 if we would have implemented a constitutional amendment that limited government growth to population and inflation. Below is a great graph that shows the disrecpency in past governemnt growth compared to the growth if it would of been tied to population and inflation.
The blue bars in the chart shows unadjusted state spending and the green line represents spending levels if were set for population growth and inflation. As you can clearly see, the gap in between the green line and blue bars continues to expand which has led us to the budget crisis we face today. This is why I am excited to support and tell you about a very important piece of legislation facing the Texas Legislature this session, House Joint Resolution 70. Its authors include Representatives Paxton, Hughes and Weber among others.
According to a HJR 70 fact sheet, “HJR 70 will limit the growth in appropriations from state tax revenue to the rate of population increase plus monetary inflation each biennium.” Furthermore, 2/3rds of revenue surplus will go to relieve property taxes. However, if the legislature sees fit that more funds need to be approperiated it must be done by a record vote and approved by 2/3rds of the members in each house.
This is the type of common sense legislation that we all hope to see from our legislators. HJR 70 will keep government growth and spending in check with a reasonable but high standard to circumvent if necessary. Remember if this was in place in 1990 Texans would have $40 billion extra dollars burning a hole in their pockets. Wouldn’t that be nice to say one day and it be a reality?