In a stinging rebuke to the plans of big-spenders in the Texas House, conservative state senators are lining up against plans to bust the state’s already strained spending cap.

A commentary published this week by Sen. Brandon Creighton and presumptive senators Van Taylor, Bob Hall and Konni Burton takes direct aim at the whispered plans of the budget team assembled by liberal Speaker Joe Straus. The House GOP leadership is expected to propose busting the budget cap by more than $1 billion.

Apparently increasing session-to-session spending by 25 percent last year just wasn’t enough to satiate big government’s spending appetite.

[side_text]If your House member says he agrees with the conservative senators and wants fiscal sanity, but plans to keep Straus as speaker, he is sadly confused… or lying. Or both.[/side_text]The budget produced by Straus and his cronies took the state all the way to the edge of the admittedly flimsy spending limit, but failed to include any dollars for roads or water infrastructure. That in turn prompted the “need” for two constitutional amendments: the first pulling money out of the Economic Stabilization Fund – the state’s piggy bank – and the second diverting dollars from ever even getting there.

None of this fiscal hanky-panky is sitting well with the conservatives coming into the Senate.

“Without a course adjustment, this means the very first vote of the next legislative session could be to ‘bust the cap’ for the fiscal year that ends September 2015,” the senators wrote. “As incoming members of the Texas Senate, we commit to limiting the size and reach of government, and right now, we oppose such a vote. Given the tremendous amount of money appropriated, there’s enough room to stay within the spending constraints of the budget and avoid busting the cap.”

Creighton, Taylor, Hall and Burton correctly point to the economic peril associated with letting government spending grow even faster than it already is.

“Not only does it signal to Texans that the Legislature is unwilling or unable to live within its means, but it jolts government growth onto an unsustainable path since spending would be increasing faster than the growth of our economy.”

This should send shock waves around the House. A liberal Dallas County Republican and Straus lackey has said publicly that under the current speaker, House members would be voting regularly against conservatives in the Senate.

Now members of the Texas House are under warning that while the Senate is poised to oppose busting the cap, Straus’ team will be pushing for it anyway. House members will be voting on a doomed proposal because – in the words of the lackey – Straus is a “grown-up” loved by Democrats.

The senators concluded their article with a none-too-subtle political warning.

“The citizens of Texas have sent a clear message that they expect their elected officials to roll up their sleeves and make the tough decisions necessary to keep Texas a beacon of freedom and opportunity, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

Translation: House members will not only have to contend with actually voting to bust the cap, but such a vote will be used against them by opponents in 2016. Worse still, state representatives can expect their senators to be running, in part, against a big-spending, obstructionist House.

If your House member says he agrees with the conservative senators and wants fiscal sanity, but plans to keep Straus as speaker, he is sadly confused… or lying. Or both.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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