Texas may be doing better than other states, but such comparisons overlook the long-term fiscal problems our state will be faced with if we don’t get spending under control. The Texas Budget Compact seeks to make our state stronger by enacting constitutional protections to curb future overspending.

For some time, we have consoled ourselves with the idea Texas is a small-government, low-tax state. And we are, when compared to the other states. But simply doing better than the other guys is not an entirely sufficient measure.

It’s like being the least drunk person at a bar. Just because California is drooling in the corner of the room and mumbling about ex-girlfriends, doesn’t give us much room to brag if we’re having trouble walking a straight line. We look good by comparison, but that isn’t enough.

That’s why it’s good to see friends offering forward-looking and right-thinking proposals, like Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Budget Compact. A 5-point plan to put Texas on a strong course for the future.

Over the last 20 years, state spending in Texas has risen 300 percent, while population and inflation – the number of people and our ability to pay – has increased less than 150 percent.

That’s not sustainable. We must cap spending by law, limiting how fast government can grow in the future. This is a popular measure with voters and taxpayers, but apparently not with legislators who haven’t yet done it – even with Republican legislators, whose primary voters have supported this language on the last four GOP ballots at 90-percent levels.

On the 2012 GOP Primary ballot, voter approval for spending limits increased to an astounding 94%!

Rather than suggest it, the voters need to now demand it. The Texas Budget Compact serves as a rally-point for voters who want an even stronger Texas.

However, spending limits, even strong spending limits, are not the full-measure of protection Texans need to preserve our economy. We need truth in budgeting, protection of the rainy day fund, a thorough review of spending, and assurance that lawmakers won’t use 2013 looking for ways to raid our pockets in an effort to fund unsustainable spending.

Texas is strong today because in recent years our sister states have pursued new revenues and created new debt, while we pursued better public policies. We need to do more than be better than the other states, we must do more so we can be the best we can be.

For Texas to succeed over the long-haul, we must keep government right sized, which is why the Texas Budget Compact is so important – setting forth the principles that will put the Lone Star State, and all Texans, on a continued path for economic growth and success.

 

Note: This is a modified version of an earlier post from April 16th, 2012.

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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