Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News has reported that “Texas House Speaker Joe Straus urged House budget writers today to avoid raising taxes and look for creative ways to curtail spending as they prepare to close a budget gap next session…”
“Straus… said in a rare appearance before the Appropriations Committee that the trick will be to write “a balanced, no new taxes state budget in the face of a daunting shortfall.”
That’s certainly good news as are Straus’ comments that “state lawmakers should consider “a blanket moratorium” on new programs or services funded by state taxes; ways to improve collection of fines and fees; a halt to further state bond issues; and even the unpaid furloughs or four-day workweeks for state employees that have been tried in many other states.”
It appears to me that Straus has figured out that if he wants to comfortably be re-elected as Speaker of the Texas House, he had better start pushing the agenda of the conservative caucus, at least when it comes to taxes and spending.
Before the primary elections, where his moderate base was weakened considerably, Straus was singing a much different tune. Then, the Speaker was telling all to figure out ways to get new revenue by expanding the sales tax to make you pay taxes on more things, under the guise of removing “exemptions”.
Let’s hope Speaker Straus’ change of heart is genuine, no matter the motivation. If it is, then I’ve little problem with him remaining Speaker for another term.
Robert Pratt is host of the top rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at www.PrattonTexas.com