February 15, 2011
Ever since I arrived in the Senate, I’ve been frustrated by the way budget writers value bills. Proposals that are patently good for the future of the Texas economy aren’t given a hearing if there’s what’s known as a fiscal note showing they cost even a small amount of money in the short term.
If we’re going to have an honest conversation about investments that will prepare the Texas economy for the 21st Century, we need a better way to gauge the true economic impact of a bill as it’s being considered. The state has a process by which agencies will prepare economic impact statements on bills. However, only the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House can request these statements, so this valuable tool is seldom used.
My bill would allow any member of the legislature to seek an economic impact statement about a bill under consideration. That report would have to describe the five-year impact of the bill on the Texas economy, as measured through things like jobs, use of assets, and changes in the state tax base.
In addition, the report would require a general statement about effects the bill would have on the economy over the ensuing 15 years after that five-year study. And it would ensure that the state is being just as smart about its economic future as it is about its budget present.