Year-End Numbers Show State Leaders are Keeping Commitment to Keep Budget Growth Below Population Times Inflation
AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen issued statements today following the release of the Legislative Budget Board’s (LBB) Fiscal Year-End Update which shows the rate of state budget growth remains below population times inflation.
When Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick were first elected in 2014, they inherited a $203 billion budget and in 2016-17, they held state spending to an average annual increase of 2.8% when adjusted for property tax relief. In 2018-19, spending increased by 3% annually when adjusted for property tax relief and disaster spending. As is clear from this update, again, after adjusting for property tax relief and disaster spending, the budget just passed for 2020-21, increased by an average of 1.4% per year – well below the goal of population times inflation.
“Texans entrust their elected officials to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and to instill financial discipline into state budgets. This report shows our commitment to that charge. Since I took office, Texas spending, when adjusted for Hurricane Harvey relief and property tax reduction, has been constrained to well below population times inflation. This adherence to fiscal conservatism has not only ensured a healthy rainy day fund, but it has also contributed to Texas’ explosive economic growth and record low unemployment. As Governor, I will continue to preside over budgets that put Texas taxpayers first.”
-Gov. Greg Abbott
“In this most recent session, we reduced property tax growth at the local level, virtually eliminated any chance that the state will ever enact an income tax, reduced pension debt and transformed our school finance system so that it is now focused on the needs of the child rather than the demands of the district. This prudent conservative approach to the fiscal management of our state is why the Texas economy is one of the strongest in the world, business is thriving and we lead the nation in job creation.”
-Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
“Texas has long been the nation’s leader for job growth and economic prosperity, and that success is bolstered by our state’s fiscally responsible approach to keeping taxes low, minimizing regulations, and balancing our state budget. The 86th Legislature renewed its commitment to that model this session by passing a budget that keeps the rate of budget growth below population plus inflation. Keeping government spending under control and slowing the rising burden of taxes are two surefire ways to secure our economic future and attract continued investment for years to come.”
-House Speaker Dennis Bonnen
Prior to LBB’s Fiscal Year-End Update, some criticized Texas leaders for budget increases that included spending directed at Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery spending which were mostly federal funds. State budgets include a total of $19.2 billion for Hurricane Harvey recovery. The same critics also charged that the $8.6 billion that has been provided in tax relief since Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick have been in office – including the $5 billion in the recent session which included Speaker Bonnen’s leadership — should be counted as a budget increase. Neither disaster relief spending nor providing tax relief to Texans increases the rate of government growth. Texas leaders are united in their commitment to a lean, low-growth state budget to keep the Texas economy strong.