With debate over the Texas budget increasing in volume and intensity, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is digging in his heels and opposing efforts to drain the state’s savings account.
In a video released today, Patrick threw cold water on the Texas House’s plan to pass a budget that raids the Rainy Day Fund and made it even clearer that he opposes such a plan.
“The purpose of the [Rainy Day Fund] is to pay our bills when we have a recession. It also can be used for one-time expenses, paying down debt, or disaster relief,” said Patrick. “But one thing it should never be used for is ongoing expenses like adding personnel or programs just to fill in the operating gaps of an ongoing budget. That’s not its purpose.”
“If we do that, in a few years, the Rainy Day Fund could be totally depleted and we wouldn’t have the resources needed for tough times that may be ahead,” he warns.
It makes sense.
Pennywise Texans know that the purpose of their own savings accounts is to be able to pay their bills in times of emergency. But what the Texas House is proposing in its budget is akin to someone using their savings account to purchase a luxury car for Sunday driving—a move that not only taps a major portion of their account, but also puts them on the hook for a monthly payment in order to keep it.
Meanwhile the Texas Senate has proposed a balanced budget that fully funds the state’s needs without raiding the Rainy Day Fund. In short, they made spending cuts while the Texas House went on a spending spree.
Patrick is exactly right. As conservatives have argued for years, using the Rainy Day Fund for ongoing expenses places the Texas Legislature on a perilous path towards emptying the fund and increasing taxes on citizens.
Citizens should demand that lawmakers balance needs versus wants and give them a government that lives within its means rather than breaking the bank on items they can’t afford.