Rep. Jim Pitts, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is expected to vote out a bill that would authorize the use of $4.3 billion in Rainy Day Funds. The money withdrawn from the fund will be used to cover the budget shortfall we have in the current biennium. This comes at the heels of conservative organizations and legislators and Gov. Rick Perry asking members not to even consider spending any of the Rainy Day Fund until all the cuts that can be made have been made.
I feel Pitts and other members are jumping the gun as they push to use the Rainy Day Fund, especially for the amount they are requesting. First, it violates Rainy Day Commandment #3 because the legislature has yet to exhaust all options to balance the budget with out using the fund. We aren’t even half way through session and the legislature shouldn’t be taken this road so soon. However, in the grand scheme of things we are more likely seeing the first moves in negotiations, so add an extra grain of salt to everything you hear about the Rainy Day Fund from here on out.
It will be interesting the stance Perry will take, concerning the Rainy Day Fund, during his meeting with the House Republican Caucus and press conferences with Fair Tax guru Grover Norquist. Perry should give us a further glimpse into his strategy and expectations this session when it comes to the use of the fund.
If his stance is too hard he will place himself in a dangerous trap, if we see that parts of the fund need to be used, and if it’s too soft he will wash away his Tea Party support. He will most likely stay consistant with what he has said in the past and be very harsh on the idea of spending the the fund and only insert one or two sentences about extenuating circumstances in which it should be spent. I hope he expands a little on this notion to help guide the legislature during this session.
To be honest, I think when the legislature sine dies, I wouldn’t be surprised if $2.5 billion is the magic number. It’s some where in the middle of what each side wants and most of that money will be replenished naturally in the next biennium.
Powered by Facebook Comments