By Dr. Vance Ginn and Melissa Schlosberg
The 2015 Texas Legislative Session was historic as legislators passed a conservative budget that increased by less than the key economic metric of population growth plus inflation and $4 billion in tax and fee relief. The Conservative Texas Budget Coalition congratulated the Legislature for these results since it helped to reduce the growth of government giving Texans a better opportunity to reach their full potential.
Although this was a favorable outcome, there’s work for the Legislature to do in 2017 to correct spending excesses since fiscal year (FY) 2004.
After examining Texas budget data since then, the Foundation published The Real Texas Budget: Why Texas Needs to Ratchet Down Spending Growth that highlights findings in a corresponding spreadsheet which include:
Since the 2004-05 budget, Texas has spent $39 billion more dollars than initially appropriated. Figure 1 illustrates the backfilling over this period, which is especially apparent in the 2012-13 budget cycle when the 2013 Legislature covered the underfunded amounts to Medicaid and K-12 Schools by the 2011
In The Real Texas Budget, the Foundation provides Texans with the ability to understand how their tax dollars are spent. We also highlight the need for increasing budget transparency by the following legislative recommendations:
Ph.D. Economist at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Blog posts are publications by the author.