So, of course, the answer is a tax hike and more spending. What’s the problem? Doesn’t really matter. A couple years ago, when the state was in the black and the national economy was strong, Texas liberals wanted a tax hike so government could go on a radical spending spree. Today, the economy is down and there are concerns about a state budget projected shortfall. But the left stands at ready for their one-size-fits-all solution: Gouge the taxpayer and grow government.

The liberals are out in force this week, through their “Democracy in Action” coalition styled now as “Texas Forward” promoting a “balanced approach to a balanced budget.”

Talk about misleading. Texas already has a balanced budget requirement, thank you very much. But the thing is, they really don’t want a balanced budget, they want more spending. That’s what “balanced approach” means in lefty code.

Note that curiously absent from their “balance” is any mention of cuts. There is a reason for that.

They believe a lot more spending on “public services” is needed to meet “demands caused by changing demographics, technology, and economic competition.” What does any of that mean? Nothing. And everything. It’s very expensive gibberish.

It can, however, be loosely translated as “just leave your wallet with us.”

It doesn’t occur to the left that their solutions don’t work. At the extreme, Cuba has 85 percent of the population working for government, and have a standard of living hovering somewhere around the stone-age. A fact even Fidel Castro admitted this week. Cuba is now laying off hundreds of thousands of these employees.

In California — where they only pay taxes like 85 percent of the population works for the government — that state has teetered on bankruptcy for years. They are losing working population and jobs by the thousands. The have $500-million, state-of-the-art school buildings — yet their education system has been unmasked as a fraud, teachers are furloughed and true academics suffer.

The problem with liberals is that faced with enormous evidence that their solutions bring misery and ruin, they just assume it’s because they could do it better. Take a heap of socialist utopianism, mix it with egotism, and result is either despotism or poverty or both.

Rather than moving Texas forward, the lefty coalition wants to tax-and-spend Texans backward.

Their solutions are what has killed California, Michigan, Illinois and so many other states. Big government stifles innovation and economic progress.

As we consider an $18 billion budget shortfall, there is a simple solution: restrict the spending. It’s what every Texas taxpayer and family has had to do in tough economic times. There is no reason why government cannot do likewise, and every reason to demand that they do.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."