Texas’ limitation on the growth of government spending would be strengthened under legislation passed by the Senate. The measure now awaits a hearing in the House.

Senate Bill 1336 by State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R–North Richland Hills) passed the Senate by a vote of 19 in favor and 13 opposed. The measure would cap the growth of state spending at the rate of population plus inflation. Only one Democrat, State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (McAllen), voted for it.

The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives, where it has currently been referred to the House Appropriations Committee but has yet to receive a hearing. If the bill makes it through the entirety of the legislative process and becomes law, it would not take effect until the fiscal biennium starting in September 2023.

Brief History

Similar bills have been tried before. The same bill was passed out of the Senate last legislative session (2019), but it ultimately died in the House of Representatives without ever getting a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.

It was also filed in 2015 by then-State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) as Senate Bill 403 but never received a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. A somewhat similar bill authored by Hancock passed both chambers in 2017 but died in the conference committee at the end of the legislative session. It would have limited spending on six specific categories, including transportation, public education (primary and secondary), higher education, healthcare, public safety and corrections, and other general government entities.