Delivering on their promises, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Kelly Hancock have delivered the most significant reform to state budgeting since the late 1970s. A pair of measures unveiled at the Capitol today would strictly limit the growth of government to no more than the sum of population growth and inflation.
That’s the measure widely supported by Texas voters generally, and Republicans in particular. In 2012, a non-binding GOP ballot measure calling for such a limitation earned 94 percent of the vote. Yet the reform has stalled out in the legislature in past years.
For example, then-senator Dan Patrick had championed the idea since before entering the Senate. In 2013 he successfully moved similar legislation out of the Finance Committee in 2013, but the measure died without being given a floor debate.
As reported earlier today by our own Cary Cheshire, Hancock’s SB9 and SJR2 would limit the growth of all state government to the population-plus-inflation level. This is in marked contrast to the current spending cap — which was adopted in the late 1970s — which applies only to a portion of the budget and uses the vacuous notion of “projected personal income growth” as the measuring stick.
The Texas Senate is living up to the pre-Session hype. Serious, reform-minded legislation is moving forward at a respectful clip.
The Senate, under Patrick’s leadership, has driven forward the policy discussions on significant tax relief, reforms to transportation funding, simplifying the business tax, controlling property taxes, putting wayward state agencies in their place, and a bevy other reforms.
While we are long way from these measures going into law, the momentum in the Senate is a promising sign for Texans eager to see elected officials — like Dan Patrick and his Senate GOP colleagues — deliver on their promises.