Today, the Texas House released the first of three rounds of interim charges and there is much to like for fiscal conservatives, including studies on strengthening the flimsy state spending limit and streamlining state government by repealing “unnecessary statutory requirements.”

The key language concerning spending limtis in an interim charge for the House Appropriations Committee is: “Examine alternative spending limit methodologies found among the various states as they impact state and local spending and recommend potential changes to the Texas budget process to bring long-term, innovative strategies to control costs of major governmental programs.”

Of course, interim studies do not themselves accomplish change, but they often lay the groundwork for legislation. They also tend to reflect the prorities of the Chairman of the particular committee, and to a lesser extent the Speaker who must approve each Chairman’s proposed charges.

Prior to last session, Local Government Ways and Means Chairman Fred Hill published an interim study that attacked local government appraisal and revenue caps. That committee’s interim charges will be released tomorrow or Friday, and it will be interesting to see if they revisit this issue. Hill remains Chairman until his successor takes his office in January 2009.



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