I just got an e-mail from State Representative Ken Paxton, something he apparently sends to his constituents, in which he writes about the need for a strong spending limit in Texas. I wish my legislators knew was spending limits were… Can Paxton by my State Representative in absentia?
Here’s what he wrote:
Over the past two weeks, I have discussed Comptroller Susan Combs revenue estimate and economic outlook for Texas. Given the current economic trends, the Legislature must act responsibly this session when passing our State’s budget and spending taxpayer dollars, especially as Texans are working to decrease their own personal spending. Now is the perfect time to enact strict limits to slow our State government’s growth and spending.
The current tax and expenditure limitation (TEL) procedure in the Texas Constitution is fatally flawed. Since 1978, when the current spending limit legislation was put into effect, the growth in appropriations has far outpaced the rate of population plus inflation. If a stricter spending limit was put into effect in 1990, Texas could be spending approximately $35 billion less per year, as seen in the following chart, courtesy of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. This savings could allow for significant property tax relief for taxpayers. Therefore, it is my goal this session to enact statutory changes to simplify the current TEL and further restrict the growth of our State government while benefiting Texas taxpayers.
(Chart couldn’t be copied here.)
First and foremost, we must limit State spending by keeping it in line with the growth in our State’s economy or restrict it to the rate of population growth plus inflation, whichever is less. Second, a portion of any surplus revenue needs to be allocated to our State’s “Rainy Day Fund,” and the rest should be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts. Finally, a mechanism should be in place to significantly reduce, and eventually eliminate the school maintenance and operations property tax.
With such a policy in place, Texas could lead the country with massive reform to drastically limit government spending and provide substantial tax relief to taxpayers while improving the overall economy.