Advocates Passage of Additional Tax Relief and a Stricter Spending Limit
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today joined Texans for Fiscal Responsibility President Mike Sullivan and state legislators to emphasize the importance of fiscal restraint as the 2008 legislative session nears the end. In his State of the State address, Gov. Perry called on legislators to support an additional $2.5 billion in tax relief and to enact a tighter spending cap on state expenditures.
While commending legislators' budgetary restraint in passing budgets which leave roughly $8 billion unspent, Gov. Perry advocated using some of that money for tax relief. "I think it is reasonable to take about a third of that money and give it back to the people so it doesn't get spent just because we have it in our pocketbook."
Gov. Perry also advocated for a stricter spending cap, saying, "Taxpayers deserve a state spending limit that is actually a limit. I support tying spending increases to inflation and population growth."
Echoing his call from the beginning of session, the governor urged the legislature to promote greater budget transparency through detailed budget line items, rather than lump sum appropriations. Transparency initiatives also included disclosure of public funds on agency websites. Since January, the governor's office has posted all expenditures on the web. This effort was also met by the Texas Education Agency and the Comptrollers' Office. Gov. Perry also reiterated the importance of instilling a spending cap which ties spending increases to inflation and population growth.
"I commend legislators for supporting the elimination of the TIF tax and the end of large payment delays," Gov. Perry said. "But there are still billions of dollars of spending gimmicks that, if not addressed when we have a record surplus, never will be."
Sullivan mailed 80,000 pieces of direct mail into the House districts of members sitting on Appropriations, Ways and Means and Local Government Ways Means Committees. Each mail piece contained a perforated post card an individual could send their representative urging a stricter state spending limit, real budget transparency in government, and the elimination of taxes and fees no longer needed. The response has generated more than 6,000 returns.
Noting that there are still 26 days left in session, Perry urged action on taxpayer protections, saying, "Let's make sure it's the taxpayers who have a good session - not just big spending special interest groups."