While Texans are overwhelmingly opposed to the pork-fest activities in Washington, our new House Speaker has set the stage for amassing major debt in the Lone Star State by appointing government-grower extraordinaire Jim Dunnam (D-Waco) to chair a select committee charged with asking for, and recklessly spending, Obama’s stimulus package. Make no mistake: this is bad news for Texas’ taxpayers.

This is the same Jim Dunnam who, along with Republican Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, pushed to increase their House office budgets and staff salaries at a time when the state faces a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall and the Legislature is asking all state agencies to trim their budgets by 10 percent.

In recent weeks, every conservative leader in the state has stepped out against the stimulus package, noting the horrendous burden this costly boondoggle will place on states taking the money for years to come. The package money comes not with strings, but an economic hangman’s noose for every state taking the money.

But Speaker Joe Straus has not only allowed the House to change its rules to circumvent the governor in asking for stimulus money – Perry has been opposed to the bailouts and indicated he won’t take money for anything but one-time expenditures – Straus is putting the wolf in charge of the hen house.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid plan not only prevents states from using the money for tax cuts, it puts taxpayers on the hook for costly government programs that will exist long after the three-year spending spree ends.

The creation of this select committee sends a confusing message not only about Straus’ commitment to fiscal discipline, but even the rule of the House. Just a month ago, the House set rules sending all stimulus-related legislation to the Appropriations Committee. How that rule interacts with this select committee remains to be seen.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

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

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