There will be plenty to analyze from last night’s primary election results, but one thing became immediately clear: GOP Primary voters continue to overwhelmingly support spending limits on state government.
For the fourth election cycle in a row, Texas GOP Primary voters overwhelmingly support restricting the growth of state spending to the rate of population growth plus inflation.
When first asked by the Republican Party in 2006, voters supported limiting the growth of government spending by almost 90%. In 2008, voters supported restricting spending by 92%, and again supported controlling government growth by 92% in 2010.
This year, with the highest margin we’ve seen, voters approved the idea of limiting any increase in government spending by 94%!
This irrefutable evidence of voter’s desire to cap spending was reinforced by the trouncing of Straus-friendly legislators Vicki Truitt and Todd Smith – both of whom refused to make any public commitment to do so.
Rep. Truitt was handily defeated by Giovanni Capriglione, no doubt in large part because of her refusal to support the Texas Budget Compact – a 5 point plan that included limiting spending increases to population growth plus inflation. Mrs. Truitt also refused to sign the Taxpayer Pledge.
Rep. Todd Smith was also soundly defeated by Rep. Kelly Hancock in his bid for the Texas Senate. Like Mrs. Truitt, Mr. Smith never supported the Texas Budget Compact or the Taxpayer Pledge – scoffing at the notion that the overall tax burden need not be increased further.
Likewise, conservatives who did publicly express support for spending limits largely fared very well in last night’s election. Conservatives running for Senate, such as Reps. Charles Schwertner and Kelly Hancock, both earned 75% and 65% of the total votes respectively out of two-man races. Larry Taylor, who was in a three-man race, earned 58% of the vote total.
Over in the House, conservatives like Bryan Hughes, David Simpson, Scott Turner, Charles Perry, Jonathan Stickland, Bill Zedler, Craig Goldman, and Tony Dale – all Budget Compact supporters – won with sizable margins against candidates who would not public support spending caps.
While Straus did win his own primary by a comfortable margin, he did so at the expense of many of his lieutenants in the House – further weakening his leadership heading into the 2013 legislative session. With a now decisively more conservative Senate body, the House will become the focal point for taxpayers to get spending cap legislation through. We’ve seen over the past two legislative sessions that it isn’t going to happen under Straus’ leadership.
As the run-off and general elections loom, now is the time for taxpayers to hold their legislator’s (or candidate’s) feet to the fire in supporting a change in House leadership — someone who will work to implement the principles and values overwhelmingly supported by the voters who elected them.