Legislative support is increasingly emerging for House Joint Resolution 53 by Rep. Ken Paxton which would greatly strengthen the state constitutional spending limitation and, for the first time, create a similar limitation for local governments.
Authors and co-authors are a who’s who of conservative legislators:
|Hughes | Taylor | Harper-Brown | Van Arsdale
||Berman | Bohac | Christian | Cook, Byron | Crabb | Creighton | Davis, John | Eissler | Elkins | Flynn | Hancock | Harless | Hartnett | Hopson | Jackson, Jim | King, Phil | Kolkhorst | Laubenberg | Macias | Madden | Miller | Smithee | Zedler
The presence of Rep. Chuck Hopson is notable since he is a Democrat.
The current state spending limit is calculated by projected personal income growth and since 1978 it has not served to limit anything, except property tax relief in this biennium. The Paxton proposal states that the Comptroller would instead adopt the lesser of 1) inflation plus population, 2) personal income growth, or 3) gross state product.
The Legislature could declare an emergency and by a four-fifths supermajority break this limit.Â Because population plus inflation and gross state product in most recent years have grown at several percent less than personal incomes, this would be a great step forward in terms of fiscal discipline, saving taxpayers billions.
This amendment would also limit the growth in local government spending to either 1) inflation plus population, 2) gross state product increase, or 3) growth in personal incomes in that jurisdiction. This would help ensure that the property tax relief that legislators and the Governor are working hard to secure does not get offset by local governments taking taxpayers to the cleaners.
We commend Paxton and his fellow legislators for taking the lead on this much needed measure, but other legislators must be contacted, particularly since as a constitutional amendment, this needs 100 votes in the House.