Rep. Hughes Files Bill to Shine the Light on State Agency Expenditures

Today, State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) filed House Bill 640 to require all state agencies to post a list of their expenditures online. The bill states:

hughesEach state agency that maintains a generally accessible Internet site or for which a generally accessible Internet site is maintained shall post on the site all expenditures made by the agency. The posting must include the purpose for which each expenditure is made.

We applaud Rep. Hughes for filing this legislation, which was also part of Governor Rick Perry’s budget reform proposal. It is also important that each agency categorize and post expenditures in one, easy-to-understand format. Comptroller Susan Combs has expressed interest in working with the various state agencies to bring about a day when all agencies use the same codes to classify expenditures. This will foster efficiencies in administering and auditing programs that involve multiple state agencies.

It Stinks for Texans Sued by Their Appraisal District for Contesting Their Appraisals

The Houston Cwharton countyhronicle has a disturbing piece about some Wharton County property taxpayers who find themselves as defendants in a lawsuit filed by their appraisal district after they successfully obtained reductions from the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). The chief of their appraisal district disagrees with the reductions made by the very people she appointed to the ARB so now she is hauling these taxpayers into district court, forcing them to incur legal fees in the process.

Governor Perry declares emergency on tax relief

 AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Governor Rick Perry today issued an emergency declaration on the issue of tax relief.  

The president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Michael Quinn Sullivan, said lawmakers should view tax relief as their highest priority this session. 

Conservative Leaders: Return the Surplus!

Conservative Leaders: Return the Surplus!

Leaders of seven conservative organizations today called on legislators to "return the certified surplus to Texas taxpayers."

Earlier this week the state's new Comptroller, Susan Combs, certified for legislative use a $14.3 billion surplus.

Signing the letters are the heads of: Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Conservative Coaltion Research Institute, Texas Public Policy Foundation, National Federation of Independent Business, Free Market Foundation, Americans for Prosperity — Texas, and the Young Conservatives of Texas.

Return Surplus To The Taxpayer

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today officially certified the state’s surplus at $14.3 billion. The president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Michael Quinn Sullivan, offered the following statement:

Remember the Taxpayer!

In responding to the official revenue estimate issued by Comptroller Susan Combs, Gov. Perry said, “This surplus should reinforce our commitment to the principles and policies that helped create it. State leaders must continue to be fiscally disciplined, we must continue to set clear but limited priorities, and we must remember that every expenditure affects not only those who receive a government service, but also the taxpayers who pay for it.”

That big pile of money..

That big pile of money belongs to Texas’ taxpayers. That legislators aren’t falling all over themselves leading into the session to return it completely to the taxpayers is more than a little disappointing. By spending the surplus, they will be taxing us again, and again. Hear the song (mp3)… 

It’s Wait and See at the LBB – At Least Fix the Cap Before Busting It, If You Must

The Legislative Budget Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 4 has been postponed to Thursday, January 11, apparently to give legislative leaders more time to chat with members about the setting of the spending limitation pursuant to the Constitution.  TFR has askelbb2d the LBB to use growth in gross state product (GSP) instead of growth in personal incomes when setting this cap in a letter that was included in our previous post on this subject. 

Tax cuts ain’t spending!

State Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) got it right in today's Dallas Morning News when he said, "I don't think the spending cap was designed to prevent tax cuts." What spending cap? The so-loose-as-to-be-non-existent cap added to the state constitution back in 1978 as the "Texas Tax Relief Act." Unfortunately additional tax relief during the recent special session was blocked by claims that having the state provide such relief would constitute spending.