January 31st, 2017
While most of the country turned its attention toward Washington D.C. for the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, back home in Texas, our Legislature was hard at work laying the foundation for a conservative legislative session and beginning the processes to ensure the needs of our citizens are met in the most efficient and effective ways possible.
The primary role of any legislative session is passing a budget. Unlike the Federal Government, here in Texas lawmakers must pass a balanced budget. This means that we’re never spending more than we take in, but more importantly it means lawmakers must carefully consider spending decisions to provide taxpayers with the best possible government at the lowest possible cost. Luckily here in Texas we have strong conservative leadership and a Legislature that is committed to the fiscally responsible policies that have brought so much prosperity to the Lone Star State.
And the work has already begun.
Following my release of the Biennial Revenue Estimate or BRE, both the Texas Senate and the Texas House have released their early versions of our state budget. I mention the revenue estimate because it establishes how much revenue is available to lawmakers for general purpose spending.
The Senate and the House have each released initial budget numbers, but it is important to remember that these numbers are only starting points. There are significant differences in the two budgets and it is through reconciling those differences that the full Legislature will ultimately craft a final budget. Negotiations will be intense at times, I’m sure, but my office stands ready to assist lawmakers as they navigate this process.
Having served in both the House and Senate, I am confident that my former colleagues will produce a budget that meets our needs, but does so with a commitment to efficiency and our state’s overall fiscal health.
In the spirit of efficiency I also want to bring your attention to another bill my office is tracking closely. When I was sworn in as your State Comptroller, I promised to return this agency to its core principles and focus on its constitutional mission. Last session we made significant progress by working with the Legislature and Governor Abbott to move events trust fund programs out of my office and merge them with more appropriate programs in the Governor’s economic development office.
This session we are continuing those efforts. Currently my office holds a voting position on the Texas Racing Commission. I don’t see the regulation of horse and dog racing as a core function of my office, and so I am pleased to announce legislation has already been filed to remove my office from the commission and give the power to the Governor to appoint a more appropriate representative.
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Yours in service,