From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
February 18, 2009

Contact: Court Koenning (512) 463-0107

Legislation would restrict spending to population and inflation increase

AUSTIN – State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and State Representative Ken Paxton (R-McKinney) jointly announced their plan to limit the growth of appropriations in Texas’ budget to the rate of the State's population increase plus monetary inflation.

"Last week, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus called for the submission of innovative proposals to reduce our State's budget by approximately 2.5%. The tax and expenditure limitation plan developed by Representative Paxton and myself will alleviate budget concerns in future years as appropriations will not be allowed to exceed the rate of population growth plus monetary inflation," Senator Patrick said.

Senator Patrick filed Senate Bill 928 and Representative Paxton filed House Bill 994.

"Given the current economic trends, the Legislature must act responsibly this Session by limiting the growth of government." Representative Paxton said. "Government spending must be curtailed to promote a true economic stimulus which will allow our citizens to keep more of their hard earned money to use for their families, their mortgages, and their personal needs. Individuals can spend their own money better than the government can."

The current limit on the growth in appropriations in Texas does not effectively limit spending. According to Texas Public Policy Foundation, if this spending limit had been put into effect in 1990, Texas could be spending approximately $35 billion less per year, which would allow Texas to provide taxpayers with significant tax relief.

Senator Patrick added, "It is time for government spending to mimic the spending controls our constituents face. By limiting government spending, we can provide our constituents substantial tax breaks while supporting our essential service needs."

Representative Paxton continued, "Our legislation is in direct response to voters, who in the 2008 Republican Primary overwhelmingly voted in favor of a ballot initiative supporting a spending limit that is tied to population growth plus inflation. This initiative was favored by 92% of the Republican primary voters."

House Bill 994 and Senate Bill 928 will apply a statutory spending limit to the appropriations that are acquired from state tax revenue. This portion of the budget makes up about one-half of state spending. A statutory change to the existing spending limit for appropriations from state tax revenue to inflation plus the rate of population growth encourages good government taxing and spending practices.

Joining Senator Patrick as joint authors and co-authors on Senate Bill 928 include Sens. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), John Carona (R-Dallas), Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) and Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay)

The House co-authors to House Bill 994 include Wayne Christian (R-Center), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Leo Berman (R-Tyler), Betty Brown (R-Athens), Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), John Davis (R-Houston), Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball), Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington), Jodie Laubenberg (R-Rockwall), Ken Legler (R-Pasadena), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Mark Shelton (R-Fort Worth), Beverly Woolley (R-Houston), Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), Bill Callegari (R-Houston) and Larry Taylor (R-League City).