February 15, 2011
Rhetoric about the state budget has a way of not resembling reality. For instance, a lot of folks were surprised to learn that Texas used about $13 billion in federal stimulus money to balance the budget and pay for other costs in 2009 and 2010.
Similarly, many Texans are shocked to learn that billions of dollars they send to Washington DC every year are then sent to other states – not back to Texas. Consider areas such as children’s health insurance, where the federal government provides more than $2.50 for every $1 that Texas invests, and that combined $3.50 has an economic impact of about $7.
My bill would require state agencies, in their annual reports, to describe how much federal money they use for operations, as well as the amount of federal money that would be available – particularly through matching funds – if the state increased appropriations for those functions.
Such transparency would help Texans prioritize their investments in a way that ensures the biggest possible return. It also would help demonstrate which priorities could have the biggest impact on the Texas economy.