Over the past few years Republican lawmakers have steadily rejected one of their own as he sought to bring Obamacare to Texas, now he’s back with another scheme they should overrule: raiding the Rainy Day Fund.

A liberal member of the Democrat coalition that governs the Texas House, State Rep. John Zerwas (R–Richmond) has long been a foe of conservative reform. As a doctor, Zerwas was tapped by House Speaker Joe Straus to carry legislation to bring an expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare to Texas in 2013 and 2015.

Each time Zerwas tried to entice lawmakers into taking the federal money that was offered, arguing the short-term high would be worth it and the alleged long term damage was overblown. Thankfully, Republicans rebuffed his attempts and voted against his proposals.

Now the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Zerwas was tasked with writing this year’s House budget. Zerwas’ spending prescription is more bad medicine.

Rather than fund core responsibilities and force government to live within its means like the conservative budget passed by the Texas Senate, Zerwas is proposing to slash border security funding and raid the Rainy Day Fund to finance a big-government spending spree.

It’s a tough pill to swallow—one Republicans should outright refuse given Zerwas’ track record.

The decision to say “No” to Zerwas and reject the Obamacare Medicaid expansion may have been lawmakers’ wisest move in their legislative careers. As a result of Texas choosing not to expand Medicaid, the state is prospering while those two dozen states that chose to expand the program under Obamacare are on the hook for billions in new spending.

According to the Foundation for Government Accountability, “each and every state that opted into ObamaCare expansion is facing a surge in Medicaid enrollment far higher than ever anticipated.”

A study by the organization shows that in those 24 states, “at least 11.5 million able-bodied adults have now enrolled in ObamaCare expansion – an overrun of 110 percent or more than double projections. Some states have signed up more than four times as many able-bodied adults as they said would ever enroll.”

Some examples include:

  • California: $14.7 billion (222%) over-budget in the first 1.5 years
  • Kentucky: $3 billion (107%) over-budget in the first 2.5 years
  • Ohio: $4.7 billion (87%) over-budget in the first 2.75 years

With lawmakers already facing a tight budget this session, they should be very thankful that they rejected Obamacare and aren’t liable for a fiscal disaster. But in order to avoid a similar calamity they’ll have to reject another bad Zerwas proposal.

As citizens across the state know, lawmakers are spending addicts as it is. The absolute last thing that lawmakers should do is bust open the piggy bank in order to feed their nasty habit. House Republicans didn’t support Zerwas when he wanted to bring Obamacare to Texas and they shouldn’t support him in raiding the Rainy Day Fund now.

In the words of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, lawmakers should “Just say No!”

Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire is the Vice President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

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