After a left-wing media site ran a piece bemoaning cuts made to the state’s bureaucrat-filled budget agency by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, he isn’t shying away from the criticism, saying “this is absolutely right!”
The Legislative Budget Board, created by statute in 1949, makes recommendations for budget appropriations ahead of each legislative session; it consists of the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the House, and eight additional members from the House and Senate. However, the reality is that the board has turned into yet another state bureaucracy, with unelected staffers—rather than duly-elected officials—running the show.
On Tuesday, Texas Tribune—a news site that has come under fire for its dependence on donations from state agencies and special interest groups—ran a piece entitled “Capitol insiders: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is letting the state’s budget agency fall apart.” In the piece, anonymous staffers in the Legislative Budget Board as well as a leader of the left-wing Center for Public Policy Priorities—a donor to the Tribune—complain Patrick has left the agency without an executive director for a year, and staff members are departing in droves without replacements:
Veteran employees have departed in droves with no one to replace them, leaving behind a trail of vacant offices and a dearth of institutional knowledge. Staff size has fallen 26% since 2015 — from 146 to 108 employees — and four of the agency’s five executive leadership positions will soon be unfilled. The agency’s lone remaining executive told a tearful staff last week that he, too, intends to resign.
So-called “capitol insiders” were chomping at the bit to attack Patrick for what they tried to spin as a failure in leadership. But Tuesday night, Patrick doubled down and released a statement touting his work to eliminate liberal influence in the agency.
“This is absolutely right! As co-chair of the LBB, I have worked to eliminate the influence of the liberal bureaucrats who were running the LBB when I got there so we can move forward protecting taxpayer dollars and doing what the people of Texas elected us to do,” Patrick said. “There are many fine people working at the LBB who have done a good job in the interim, but the liberal leadership has attempted to block reform at every turn.”
Patrick even took a shot at the former Texas Speaker of the House, a political enemy during Patrick’s first term as he presided over the Senate.
“Former Speaker Joe Straus was no help, but I am confident we will find a new director who shares my commitment, and [the] commitment of the majority of Texans, for a lean and efficient state budget,” he added.