As the Texas Legislature has adjourned their legislative session, unlikely to return until January 2021, the Conservative Texas Budget Coalition has stated that the legislature failed to pass a conservative budget that grows within population plus inflation.
The 2020-2021 Texas budget of $243.7 billion, which excludes funds to Harvey recovery and property tax relief, increases by 12.5 percent above the 2018-2019 appropriations. This amount means this budget is not a responsible Conservative Texas Budget as it exceeds the CTB limit of $234.1 billion based on an 8 percent increase in population growth plus inflation.
When the budget was finally voted on Sunday, only State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) opposed the bill with every other lawmaker, Republican and Democrat, supporting it. This is the first time in several legislative sessions that lawmakers have thumbed their nose at the conservative Texas budget coalition’s parameters.
That, of course, hasn’t stopped lawmakers from praising the session and the budget, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently referring to it as the “Super Bowl of sessions.”
Cary Cheshire, vice president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, said lawmakers don’t have much to brag about.
“Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick presided over two conservative budgets in a row even when the state’s economy wasn’t performing very well. This session they came in with a $10 billion surplus and still couldn’t restrain themselves from overspending,” said Cheshire. “If this were truly a conservative budget, why did every Democrat lawmaker vote in favor of it?”
With the legislative session in the rear-view mirror, lawmakers are now faced with the daunting proposition of returning to their districts to answer to their constituents for their budget-busting record.