House members will begin debating the state budget today, and while we offered strong praise for the version adopted by the Appropriations Committee, liberal lawmakers are ready to unravel that work with a series of amendments that will spend more and grow government. And some weak-kneed Republicans are more than happy to go along for the ride.

Among the 455 amendments filed are efforts to grow the various entitlement and “health insurance” programs offered through the state. This is simply unconscionable abuse of the taxpayers.

First, the state is already growing those programs through new federal funds.

Second, growing those funds with state dollars today means higher taxes tomorrow – not the right economic move in a recession, where future dollars could be even more scarce.

Third, it’s just bad politics. Two days after people gathered by the tens, hundreds and thousands, across the state, it is abundantly clear voters are fed up with the rising size of government.

But some wimpy Republicans are whining in the Capitol this morning that they “have to” vote to expand government programs. That they cannot oppose socialism. Why? Because it’s “popular” in their districts.

Really? Then how did they get elected? Did they campaign in their primaries and general elections as be willing to advance socialism, grow government and ensure higher taxes? Not a one. Is there a legitimate poll showing that their constituents actually want bigger, more intrusive damaging government? None anywhere.

Instead, they causally buy into a lie from liberals. There is simply zero evidence that any legislator in Texas has ever lost any election because of their opposition to recklessly growing welfare. None. Zero. Zilch. Zip.

It’s time that our legislators exert the courage of their alleged limited-government convictions. If these “conservatives” cannot do it on the budget, in the middle of a recession, then it is abundantly clear they simply don’t believe what they campaign on.

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."