Texas House holds the line
Facing a large budget shortfall, Texas Republicans came into the 82nd legislative session with total control and facing a few options. They could raise taxes and fees hope to overcome the shortfall that way, while also breaking their promises to Texas voters and risking more damage to an already weak economy. They could cut spending, knowing that the media and the left's establishment will flame them. They could dip into the state's rainy day fund, which is intended to be saved and only used in times of genuine crisis. Or they could implement some combination of all three.
The Texas House of Representatives passed its version of the budget late Sunday, after a very long session. And according to spending watchdog Empower Texans, it's mostly good news.
Tonight's final vote on House Bill 1 tells us House leaders got the message taxpayers have been sending: live within our means! But taxpayers must remain vigilant; the session is far from over, and opportunities for taxing-and-spending mischief abound.
Certainly the budget passed out of the House isn't perfect, and there are certainly opportunities for cost-savings still to be acted on.
With that said, the House kept spending under control by making tough choices using available dollars, and eschewing calls to tap the rainy day fund.
The man in the photo, state Rep. Phil King of Weatherford, deserves a great deal of credit for keeping the Texas budget from becoming a massive stealth fee hike. Rep. King and his allies chopped $100 million in raised fees out of the budget proposal, fees that were hiding in some of the hundreds of amendments that had been attached to the bill.
The state Senate gets the next crack at the state budget. The House has provided solid leadership.