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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.

While the LBB has not yet taken action, we are pleased to report that State Representative Charlie Howard has filed as his first piece of legislation this session House Bill 354, which would mandate that the LBB use the lower of gross state product and personal income growth to set the spending cap in each biennium.

This is an excellent piece of legislation and, fortunately, it does not require a constitutional change so it can become law with a simple majority vote in both chambers.  Governor Perry has already made reforming this spending limitation part of his bold package of budget reforms so there is little doubt he would gladly sign this legislation.

So, it is not too early to contact your legislator and ask them to support HB 354 by Rep. Howard, and our hats off to Rep. Howard for getting out in front on this critical issue.