After attempts to strengthen the state’s constitutional spending limit were defeated in the Texas House last session, conservatives in the Texas Senate are trying again.
Unlike many other states, Texas already has a cap on how much lawmakers can spend with the Texas Constitution barring the Legislature from growing government more than the “growth of the state’s economy.”
Traditionally that metric has been the growth in Texans’ personal incomes, an unreliable measure that citizens have sought to supplant with something more concrete. In 2015, 94 percent of the state’s Republican Party primary voters supported strengthening the spending cap to the more reliable measuring stick of population and inflation.
Efforts to pass such a change center on Senate Bill 9 by State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R–North Richland Hills), Hancock authored identical legislation (with an identical bill number) last session only to have it defeated by then-House Appropriations Chairman John Otto (R–Dayton).
Marked a priority by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Hancock’s legislation passed the Texas Senate on a party-line vote of 20-11. The next stop will be the Texas House where the Democrat-coalition that governs the chamber will likely kill the bill.