Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Calls for Constitutional Amendments to Protect Texas Taxpayers

Wednesday, January 06, 2010  •  Fort Worth, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry today emphasized the need to protect Texas taxpayers and solidify the state's commitment to fiscal discipline by amending the Texas Constitution to require a supermajority of the Legislature to raise taxes, and limit the growth of state spending based on inflation and population growth. The governor also called for the establishment of a statewide inspector general to maximize cost efficiency and effectiveness at state agencies.

"When government resorts to expanding programs that pile up debt on future generations or throttling economic growth by raising taxes, everyday citizens pay the price," Gov. Perry said. "As that mindset holds sway over Washington D.C., it is more important than ever that we take steps to protect our citizens from the excesses of unrestrained government at every level."

Gov. Perry noted that while Texas has demonstrated a strong commitment to fiscal accountability and discipline by setting budget priorities that have helped keep the state's tax burden low and the economy strong, cementing these protections in the Texas Constitution will ensure ongoing fiscal restraint and accountability.

The amendments proposed by Gov. Perry would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase taxes, and require the Legislature to limit growth in the state budget to no more than growth in population and inflation combined. This would maintain a reasonable limit on spending while allowing the state to keep pace with a growing population.

"These two sensible amendments will engrave our proven fiscal disciplines into the bedrock of state law and make our state even stronger, no matter what challenges the global economy might present," Gov. Perry said. "These additional Constitutional protections would express our commitment to taxpayer protections in the clearest terms, while increasing the stability and predictability that make Texas such a great place to do business and raise a family."

An inspector general, meanwhile, would establish uniform accountability standards and ensure that policies and procedures are followed at agencies statewide. The governor noted the success of the inspector general's office at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which has saved the agency more than $4.6 billion and closed more than 42,000 investigations since 2004.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan
President, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
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