A worsening national economy means Texas lawmakers are going to have almost $9 billion less in tax money to spend this Session than last. Talmadge Heflin over at the Texas Public Policy Foundation says the “Legislature needs to demonstrate leadership this year by pruning state spending now” or risk severe problems in the near future.
Heflin knows what that’s like. He was the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in 2003, when legislators had to bridge a $10 billion budget shortfall caused by the collision of a bad national economy and poor spending choices by the liberal leadership in ’01.
This news is not at all unexpected, given the national economic situation. It’s even more important now than ever that legislators strictly prioritize spending to the essentials and work to cut taxes so the state’s economy is as flexible as possible. The worst possible thing the Legislature could over the next 140 days is raise taxes or hike spending.
Gov. Rick Perry sung a similar tune, saying lawmakers will be able “to meet our state’s needs within this revenue estimate by prioritizing our spending.”