Local

Dewhurst Questions Existence & Return of Surplus, But More Tax Cuts Now Can Help Avert Future Economic Slowdown

dewhurstyoungSpeaking at a Capitol news conference yesterday, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said "We don't have a 14.3 billion dollar surplus." He asserted that "when you look at promised property tax cuts out to 2011, we're looking at a balanced budget with just a modest increase in our expenditures." Dewhurst made similar remarks today at the Legislative Budget Board meeting where the LBB set the constitutional spending limit, which based on projected personal income growth, will allow a 13.11 percent increase in general revenue expenditures for the 2008-09 biennium.

Taxpayers vs. Spending Addicts in Abilene

The Abilene Reporter-News has a revealing piece today discussing how Abilene taxpayers support revenue and appraisal caps while local officials are frightened by the prospect.  The most eye-opening quote is:

abileneTaylor County Commissioner Chuck Statler likened the county's situation to his personal budget at home: ''If your expenses continue to increase, why would you want to reduce your income?''

Texas Taxpayer Funded Lobbying & Blogging

The Galveston Daily News reported this month that the board of the Galveston Independent School District voted to pay the Austin consulting firm Moak, Casey & Associates up to $15,000 to lobby the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on their behalf.  The lobbyistspecific purpose of this arrangement is to get TEA to agree to a swap between the money the district will receive to buy down school property taxes and the money they will owe the state in Robin Hood payments.  Suffice it to say, the article states that some questioned why district officials just don't call TEA themselves to find out whether this is feasible.

Sen. Carona would rather do the wrong thing… on taxes?

Sen. Carona would rather do the wrong thing… on taxes?

Sen. CaronaState Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) is quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as saying that he'd rather "something wrong than do nothing." The sad thing is that in this case, the "wrong thing" he'd rather do is raise local taxes to pay for more wasteful mass transit spending, than "do nothing" which apparently includes making local governments squeeze more effiency out of their spending programs.

Howard About That! Legislator Files Bill to Fix Spending Limitation

As we reported earlier on this blog, we have urged the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to adopt growth in gross state product instead of totCharlie Howardal personal incomes as the index for measuring growth in the state's economy for purposes of calculating the constitutional spending limitation.  Making this change would mean that Texas politicians could increase state spending by at least $3-$6 billion dollars less in the 2008-09 biennium than they could otherwise.

Sullivan to lead Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

New organization offers vision, leadership on tax relief, spending reforms

Advocacy efforts focused on promoting sound fiscal policy among lawmakers, taxpayers

AUSTIN, Texas – Unveiled in Austin today is a new organization, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, developed to promote government accountability to taxpayers and citizens. The mission of TFR is to create and sustain a system of strong fiscal stewardship within all levels of state government that serves to empower all Texans.

Board chairman and Midland businessman Tim Dunn announced that the organization will be headed Michael Quinn Sullivan. Sullivan comes to TFR from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he served as vice president and director of media and government relations. TFR was originally founded in early 2006 as Empower Texans.