In 2012, 94 percent of Republicans voted in favor of a proposition calling for a strong state spending cap based on the combined growth of population and inflation. This session, the Texas Senate responded, passing Senate Bill 9. The bill would have put the Republican proposal into action, strengthening the cap and increasing the vote threshold required to bust it.
But Joe Straus killed the spending cap plan. First, Straus sat on the bill for nearly a month before finally referring it to a House committee for consideration. When it got there, there wasn’t enough time for a public hearing. So in a meeting where Texans were not allowed to testify, Straus’ handpicked appropriations chair substituted SB 9 for a bill that would have actually made the existing state spending cap worse.
Instead of having a real cap on spending, the House proposal would have allowed different areas of state government to set their own caps based on unreliable metrics and data. Effectively, there would have been no state spending cap at all if the House plan had passed.
After the House passed its plan, House negotiators refused to meet with their Senate counterparts to discuss their competing proposals, and SB 9 died.
Straus Facts is a project of Empower Texans, shining a light on the record of House Speaker Joe Straus.