There is an issue being debated in second called session of the 83rd Texas Legislature that will affect us in the pocketbook and politically for our foreseeable future. It has to do with a terrible way of funding spending growth for state transportation projects.
Joe Straus’ big-spending House leaders are reportedly afraid we will “view the legislation as a complete solution for transportation funding instead of as a stopgap to keep transportation programs going until a bigger solution can be found,” according a report in the Texas Tribune. Translation: This plan spends much, much of our money but, pols intend to spend much, much, much more soon – so, don’t think the plan satisfies their appetite for our money.
As it stands now, the transportation funding plan is one upon which you will get to vote in November because it is so radically bad that it requires a Constitutional Amendment vote.
Acting as morons with no vision beyond today, legislators are pretending the oil and gas boom will be unending, annually pumping a windfall into our Economic Stabilization, or rainy day, Fund which is our state savings account.
The transport plan being discussed hands almost a billion more per year to TxDOT, an agency which has shown a need of serious reform time and again but has yet to be reformed. But worse than the almost-billion more per year, the plan takes money from our savings account AND cuts in half the amount we save in the future.
Not only is this entire scheme embarrassingly wrong-headed, it is dangerous to the future of Texas. Should we hit another downturn, as we will, there could be far fewer bucks in the bank to bridge the gap which will lead to tax increases as we’ve seen in other states during recessions.