It seems like the more things change, the more things stay the same for Representative Jim Pitts.
Rep. Pitts (R-Waxahachie), House Appropriations Chairman, announced this morning that he plans to file the current appropriations bill on Tuesday when the House re-convenes from their extended weekend. He claimed that the bill will not include new taxes or touch the state’s Rainy Day Fund in order to balance the budget, but his opinion on the budget should make conservatives plenty weary.
Rep. Pitts comments came at a Texas Tribune TribLive session with Evan Smith. According to the Tribune, Rep. Pitts explained that he feels many of his fellow legislators will get cold feet on their promise to not raise taxes after explaining to school districts and hospital administrators in their districts about the deep budget cuts that are eminent. Given Rep. Pitts’ admiration for legalizing gambling and willingness to tap into the Rainy Day Fund, conservatives should remain skeptical that Mr. Pitts will do everything in his power to push back against tax hike proposals.
If you’ll recall, Rep. Pitts never signed the Taxpayer Pledge that states that he will vow to oppose and vote against tax increases. He also scored a far from inspiring 53% on our Fiscal Responsibility Index from the 81st Session. This is not exactly comforting for those who expect a super-majority of Republicans in the House to demonstrate conservative leadership.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a 101-49 Republican majority will pass conservative legislation by default. It’s going to take a watchful eye from conservatives to ensure Rep. Pitts and his fellow committee chairmen don’t slip back into old habits.