Texas Budget Compact, Pt. 1: Truth in Budgeting
Truth in budgeting effectively means hitting the reset button on our budgeting process and putting an end to budgetary tricks and maneuvers that produce nothing but short-term solutions and long-term confusion.
When seeking to "balance" a budget, lawmakers might defer payments they know will come due, or underfund something with the intention of squaring the account at the beginning of the next budgeting cycle. It's certainly not unique to Texas, but it's a tactic that does little more than delay the tough decisions any enterprise - private, public or family - must make to continue living within its means.
We need to stop writing IOUs to the next legislature and make sure that our budgets are truly balanced, and accurately reflect our priorities and the priorities of the people who elect us and pay our salaries.
Another important part of truth in budgeting is reducing the use of fees and dedicated accounts for anything other than the purpose for which the fees were collected. If people are paying into a specific fund for a specific purpose, they have every expectation that we'll use it for that purpose. If we're not, it's likely time we stopped collecting them.
Only by presenting Texas taxpayers with a fair and truly balanced budget can they make up their minds about whether we're making the right choices. Truth in budgeting will help make that possible.
The five simple yet effective principles of the Texas Budget Compact:
» Practice Truth in Budgeting
• Support a Constitutional limit of spending to the growth of population and inflation
• Oppose any new taxes or tax increases, and make the small business tax exemption permanent
• Preserve a strong Rainy Day Fund
• Cut unnecessary and duplicative government programs and agencies