AUSTIN, Texas â€“ In his State of the State Address, Texas Governor Rick Perry today proposed a strong new constitutional protection for the stateâ€™s taxpayers. The measure would limit the growth in state spending to a rolling, three-year average of inflation and population growth.
The president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Michael Quinn Sullivan, praised the proposal.
â€œGov. Perry is putting the needs of working Texas taxpayers ahead of bureaucracy. By restricting the growth in government to maintaining the costs of current services, the legislature will be forced to live within the taxpayersâ€™ means,â€ said Sullivan.
â€œThat doesnâ€™t mean legislators cannot spend beyond the limit in the future; it just means the hurdle for spending more, taking more from the taxpayer, will be a good bit higher. A growing, healthy economy requires less government, not more. A fast-growing government, on the other hand, makes the economy sour for everyone.â€
The current spending limit was adopted as a constitutional amendment in 1978, and refers to growth in the stateâ€™s economy as the limitation â€“ leaving it to the legislature to define that measure.
â€œTexasâ€™ existing spending limit has limited nothing in recent years; except, ironically, efforts to reduce property taxes,â€ added Sullivan. â€œTexas is recognized as having the weakest possible limitation, and effectively no limitation.â€
When surpluses occur â€“ as is currently the case, with some $14.2 billion â€“ those funds should be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax relief, not used to expand the size and scope of government.â€