My fellow Texans, during lean economic times, all families make tough decisions. In every home and business, Texans prioritize their spending.
State government should do the same.
This month, I presented lawmakers with a budget framework that offers a complete re-examination of state spending. It will let Texans know how every tax dollar is spent.
My plan starts at zero and asks state agencies to justify every expenditure.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick agree with this approach - one that allows legislators to set priorities important to all Texans.
Is it important to continue improvements in our public schools and provide Texas children with health insurance?
But while most Texans want dollars devoted to our classrooms, right now - with our state's method of budgeting - you can't distinguish between funding for real services and those tax dollars that are used simply for travel, consultant contracts and administrative expenses.
I want a transparent budget for our state, one that allows you - the taxpayer - the ability to see for yourself how every dollar is being used; one that assures tax dollars are being utilized efficiently; and, a state budget that does not rely on new taxes.
In uncertain economic times, the focus must be on government spending less - not on taxpayers paying more.
We will set priorities and ensure that every dollar is spent efficiently and appropriately.
My budget provides the starting point from which we can ensure economic security, fiscal responsibility and educational opportunity for all Texans.
I believe a government that tries to do too much for too many ends up accomplishing too little.
We must reduce the size and scope of government. We must separate wants from needs.
We must commit to living within our means and recognizing the sacrifices of taxpayers.