When the Senate Finance Committee adopted their version of the state budget last week, it included two small but powerful provisions giving Texans some protection against burdensome federal mandates hidden in the stimulus package. This prudent action should be replicated by the House.

The first provision requires the stimulus funds to be used only in the manner directed by the state, unless “prior written approval of the Governor and Legislative Budget Board” is received.

Next, agencies must report “any changes in federal law, rules or regulations in programs that receive appropriations … that could create a future fiscal obligation beyond fiscal year 2011 to the state.” Either the governor or the Legislative Budget Board will have 10 days to disapprove the action.

Finally, state agencies are required to give priority to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for “expenditures that do not recur beyond the 2010-2011 fiscal biennium.”

These budget riders go a long way in keeping Congress, and the administration, from messing with Texas.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

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

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