According to reports from Austin via Michael Quinn Sullivan, North Texas Republicans Bob Duell (Greenville) and Jim Pitts (Waxahachie) are leading the charge to spend the Texas Rainy Day Fund. Sen. Deuell is advocating expenditure of the Rainy Day Fund in combination with hikes in gasoline and sales taxes. As Sullivan remarked in a recent email:
[Sen Deuell is] threatening to raise gasoline taxes and fuel more state spending through expanded sales taxes. What, does he feel like he hasn’t spent enough of your money already?
But Deuell is right about one thing: this tax-and-spend brand of politics isn’t what voters were expecting when they gave Republicans super-majority status based on the conservative message candidates campaigned on throughout the fall.
Legislators are arguing that there is nowhere to cut the budget without destroying essential services. Michael Quinn Sullivan takes on this claim directly:
[T]he legislature has yet to enact any current-budget spending reductions. The arts commission is still running, the state is still underwriting a Formula 1 race track, the enterprise fund and film subsidies are open, non-essential state employees haven’t been furloughed…
If it’s raining hard enough to tap the rainy day fund, the legislature should first make further cuts to non-essential programs and services.
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