By Speaker Joe Straus
Two years ago, the Texas House made our state budget more transparent and accountable. In our new legislative session, we are continuing that effort.
Our 2013 push for a more straightforward budget was driven by the belief that when Texans pay a tax or fee that is dedicated to a specific purpose, the money should actually fund that purpose… or the state shouldn’t be collecting the tax or fee.
Yes, this sounds simple. But for more than 20 years, the state had been collecting billions of dollars in fees and letting them sit in the state treasury. Instead of going toward their intended purpose — be it hospital trauma care or college financial aid or electric discounts for the poor — that money was counted to balance the rest of the budget on paper.
Due to the complexity and sheer size of our budget, such maneuvers are not easily undone. But we are starting to undo them. In 2013, we reduced the amount of money sitting in these accounts by $1 billion. And this year, the House is making additional reforms.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) released the following statement in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s State of the State address:
“Governor Abbott put a powerful spotlight on issues that are very important to Texas and to the Texas House, and I am confident that the House is going to address those priorities in a meaningful way. The House will carefully consider the details of these proposals as we continue to develop a sound, disciplined state budget. We look forward to working further with Governor Abbott and the Senate on behalf of the citizens of Texas.”
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