When grow-government shills get desperate, they can be counted on to lie, distort and misrepresent. Such is the case on and around the Senate floor today.

Liberal activists are passing around a 2009 letter from conservatives — including Texans for Fiscal Responsibility — opposing an effort then to irresponsibly tap the rainy day fund. We told legislators then that tapping the fund was unwise because 2011 looked like it might be rough.

Obviously, we were right then. (Read a PDF of that letter here.)

The rainy day fund exists to maintain the state’s solvency, not provide a way to avoid fiscal responsibility. That’s why Texas’ leading conservative organizations gave the House a pass on its one-time use of the RDF to close this year’s budget deficit – and only after the House demonstrated that it had made as many cuts as possible to the current 2010-2011 budget.

For two months now liberals activists have been trying to wrongly claim our prognostication for the downturn in the economy was somehow a blank check to use the RDF in this session as a way to avoid cuts. You can expect a lazy press to parrot the liberal line; truth and facts clearly mean little when it comes to growing government and living beyond the taxpayers’ means.

The coalition Texans for a Conservative Budget issued this letter this afternoon. (You can also download a PDF here.)

Dear Senator,

In 2009, we signed a letter urging the Texas legislature to not use the Economic Stabilization Fund, better known as the Rainy Day Fund, for state-government activities in the 2010-2011 biennium. In it, we stated, “Retaining the entire balance in the Economic Stabilization Fund is important so that the state does not have to cut essential programs or raise taxes in response to an anticipated budget shortfall in 2011.”

We want to make two things clear:
–> We stand by our 2009 letter.
–> We stand by our 2011 declaration that using the Rainy Day Fund now is unnecessary and unwise.

In 2009, we were explicit: Rainy Day Fund use should be contemplated if and only if the alternative is higher taxes or essential-program cuts. Fortunately, Texas and its state budget are not at that impasse. The Texas House of Representatives, in particular, has shown that with political imagination and courage, it is possible to craft a budget for the coming biennium that does not raise taxes, does not cut essential programs — and does not demand a penny of the Rainy Day Fund.

Any person claiming that our 2009 letter validates use of the Rainy Day Fund ignores our clear intent then and now. We have been consistent in our position that the Fund should be preserved in full — not just in the last biennium, but in this one as well.

With respect,

Talmadge Heflin, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Arlene Wohlgemuth, Texas Public Policy Foundation
Michael Quinn Sullivan, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
Peggy Venable, Americans for Prosperity — Texas
Jonathan Saenz, Liberty Institute

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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