February 15, 2011
Over the last two years, as Texas’ budget crisis got clearer and clearer, the so-called Big 3 – the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House – ordered state agencies to go through their budgets, find spending cuts, and send them back for approval.
Now that sort of exercise is important during tight times. But there was one big problem: The Big 3 don’t get to dictate how the public’s money is spent or not spent.
My bill would keep the Big 3’s dictates from affecting a budget that was debated and voted on by the legislature unless the Legislative Budget Board – the agency charged with overseeing the budget when the legislature isn’t meeting – first receives a report on the cuts and holds a public hearing on how those changes will affect Texans.
The agencies would still be allowed to reduce their spending by that amount – they wouldn’t even need approval from the LBB. They simply would have to be very clear about how spending was about to change mid-stream, and Texans would have a chance to weigh in on how it would affect them.