The Senate Finance Committee took the easy way out in crafting a budget that exceeds the taxpayers’ means. Rather than prioritize spending within available revenues, the committee is choosing to tap the rainy day fund and use other one-time revenue sources to pay for ongoing expenses.

The senate committee this morning passed their version of the state budget, spending $12 billion more than the Texas House. They draw $3 billion more from rainy day fund to use in the 2012-13 biennium, in addition to the $3 billion to be used for the current 2010-2011 budget.

If the Senate Finance Committee’s goal was to define fiscal irresponsibility, they succeeded.

Given what we know about the challenges ahead, the committee’s budget creates serious challenges for the next biennium. For example, we know that ObamaCare and the expansion of Medicaid are going to pose serious budget challenges in the next Session.

No matter what one thinks of the prioritization within the House budget, they kept spending responsibly at the point of available revenues.

The Senate should use the floor debate to define priorities and pass a budget within available revenues. That’s what Texas’ voters and taxpayers expect from this Legislature, a responsible budget without new taxes and living within their means.

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."