A poorly prepared report from the Legislative Budget Board became fodder for liberals demanding budget bloat. House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst pushed back with the truth.
In a report issued late Thursday, the LBB claimed that under the current 2012-2013 budget proposal, and due to the global economic recession, Texas would lose up to 335,000 jobs and it’s economy would suffer at the cost of $19 billion.
While the LBB report insinuates that its projected job losses can be attributable to “the steep downturn” of the economy of late, it also essentially claims that the success of the Texas economy is tied to the largesse of government. This statist interpretation could not be more wrong.
Speaker Straus countered the LBB with common sense in a press statement:
I question the validity of the assumption that requiring government to live within its means will lead to a downturn in the economy – in fact, the opposite is true. The best way to jump-start growth is for the Legislature to keep taxes low and regulations reasonable to provide the opportunity for business to grow and thrive in Texas. Jobs are created when government is efficient and responsible and allows the private sector to flourish. Cutting spending to make government live within its means is the fiscally responsible course of action and one that will keep Texas on track for job growth over the long-term.
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst pointed out the inconsistencies in the LBB interpretation:
The LBB report clearly shows that job creation is tied to the size of the economy, not the budget. What it does not calculate, however, are the dramatic job losses Texas would suffer if the Legislature raised taxes just as our economy is starting to rebound. You cannot expect to grow the economy and create jobs by growing bigger government.
A statement from famed economist Art Laffer was issued by the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
Economics is a double-entry system. Higher spending for the government means, by definition, higher taxes on the citizens of Texas. The spending increases from the government will be, by definition, offset dollar-for-dollar with reduced spending by the people who face the higher taxes. In addition, the negative incentives from the higher taxes will create additional negative incentives leading to even greater economic damage.
As Michael Quinn Sullivan pointed out yesterday, the grow-government liberals are sounding increasingly like Chicken Little, jumping at shadows and seizing on every opportunity to paint a picture of doom and gloom.
The truth is that by keeping government spending within the taxpayers’ means, the state of Texas will see strong economic growth for years to come.
Andrew Kerr is the Executive Director of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
Connect with Andrew on Twitter