February 23, 2011
Texas Senator Kirk Watson issued the following statement today regarding the Texas Senate’s passage of Senate Joint Resolution 1, calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget:
I strongly believe that government budgets need to be not only balanced, but sustainably balanced. And I support the conversation about federal spending that this resolution – and the constitutional amendment it contemplates – would create.
But the irony of this action makes my head spin.
It isn’t enough for the Texas Legislature to simply point fingers at Washington DC without examining its own budgeting bad habits. It’s at least equally important that the legislature take steps to reform its budget and finances than to pass a resolution about another legislative body.
I have proposed an Honesty Agenda of legislation that would make government more open, its finances more honest, and those in control more accountable. It would make information about the budget more widely available and help ensure that the state is on the side of middle-class Texans.
The state now sees the consequences of years of debt, diversions and deception. As a result, Texans potentially face a combination of higher taxes and fees, increasingly drained government savings, and painful reductions in basic necessities threatening to fundamentally undermine Texas’ students, seniors and economic competitiveness.
Until the legislature effectively addresses this crisis, it’s a waste of time to pass what could well become a purely symbolic resolution. Those in control should focus on their own actions, and the need to reform their own house, before scolding others for the condition of theirs.