The Texas state budget tripled from 1992 to 2010, and now lawmakers want to amend the state Constitution to limit further expansion, the Texas Tribune reported today. The biannual budget grew to $187.5 billion from $62.8 billion, roughly 3.9 percent every two years, once inflation and population gains are considered. The 2012-13 budget fell to $173.5 billion, but the Legislature is likely to approve more spending when it convenes next year.
To fix this (they use the word “problem” but I’ll use:) situation, Governor Perry and Lite Guv Dewhurst are considering an amendment to the Constitution that would cap spending at the combined rate of inflation and population growth. Problem is, they don’t have as much backing as they may want/need:
The debate among Republicans over the state’s fiscal record exposed deep fissures in the party during this year’s primary. In his losingbid for U.S. Senate, Dewhurst vowed to bring the “Texas model” of fiscal restraint to Washington, a promise that was mocked by the winner, Ted Cruz, who had the support of Tea Party groups.
“In his entire tenure in elected office, he has never once cut one penny from the state budget,”Cruz said during a televised debate earlier this year.
At the time, Dewhurst accused Cruz of lying. Last month, Dewhurst said critics were still misinforming Texans about the state’s budget history.
“We have kept our spending as low as possible while, in my judgment, still funding our priorities,” he said, “and not enough credit is given to the members of the Legislature for that.”
The Constitution currently restricts budgetary growth to the rate of growth for state personal income, which is typically higher than the Perry/Dewhurst plan.