State of the State
My fellow Texans
This past week I was proud to stand before a joint session of the Texas Legislature with a confident message that the state of our state is strong.
As a state, we continue to see successes in the classroom in economic development and our push to provide adequate health care for all Texans.
But it's not the state of our state that concerns me.
It's the state of our government.
The fiscal challenges we now face in Austin cannot be blamed on Texas families.
No one can say Texans are not working hard enough or paying enough in taxes.
Since 1990, our population has grown by 27 percent and inflation has increased by 37 percent.
And what has government grown by in the same period?
So as state government looks to tackle the fiscal challenges of the future, we must begin by setting clear and limited priorities.
When ends don't meet, Texas families prioritize. Why shouldn't government?
We've already begun to take responsible measures. Because of the dedicated Texans leading our agencies, we are reducing current year spending by 7 percent.
My own office has achieved a 16 percent reduction in its operating budget.
In addition, during my State of the State address I identified more than $9 billion in potential savings to show we can balance our state budget without raising taxes.
Starting from zero, every dollar spent by government must be prioritized.
I know that Texas families don't want don't need and don't deserve new taxes.
Slowdowns in the economy usually are temporary. Tax hikes usually are not.
The Texas of a new century must be built on the legacy of centuries past.
Texans have always been bold, pioneering and unrestrained in vision - focused on the far horizon.
As we move forward, let us remember at all times the fundamental principle that guides our actions:
Government should not limit freedom. Freedom should limit government.