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How to Balance the State Budget

By: JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director and Member of the Citizen Advisory Committee to the Tea Party Caucus of the Texas State Legislature

Conservatives sent a strong message in the November 2nd General Election by electing a Republican „super-majority‟ to the Texas House. Business-as-usual will not be acceptable. It is time for Conservative Republicans to lead! We cannot afford to wait any longer to take decisive action on the high cost of illegal aliens in terms of both security and financial costs.

We also cannot wait any longer to pass strong election integrity and ballot security measures. We must have a voter photo ID bill passed this session. We must reduce the size, scope, and cost of state government to balance the state budget with no tax increases and no unfunded mandates pushed down to the local level.

We must return to the First Principles — the basis of the founding of this nation. That means ending the practice of “legal plunder.” Local commissioners courts, school districts, city councils, and other special taxing districts must stop asking state legislators and members of Congress to pick the pockets of fellow taxpayers across Texas and the Nation to fund special local projects! We the People must get government back to its original purpose: the protection of Life, Liberty and Property. We must make sure we get government – at every level – back into its proper role and rely upon the other two forms of government – self-governance and family governance to address all other matters. Bottom line: We the People must not look at government officials as our personal or community Santa Clauses!

State Budget: Across the board cuts do not get to the root of the over-spending, over-regulating problem! Cutting 2.5%, 5% or 10% of a department, agency, or program that is outside Constitutional authority is still WASTE!

It is time to get state government spending under control by: 1) determining the constitutional authority of all spending proposals and mandating proof of citizenship or legal residency for public services; 2) eliminating overlapping, duplicated agencies, departments and programs; 3) injecting competition into the delivery of services for improved service delivery and lower costs; 4) instituting an immediate hiring freeze and review of all state government positions, all personnel policies, and all benefits; 5) pass “truth in budgeting” spending transparency legislation to end the practice of diverting funds from the originally-intended purpose to other uses (for example, fuel taxes); 6) sunset review of all agencies, departments, and programs to match funding with originally-intended mission and to determine whether or not the agency, department, or program is producing measurable results; and 7) reasserting State Sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. Too much state spending is driven by accepting unconstitutional federal funding, regulation, and mandates! These are the conservative ideas and recommendations I will take to the Tea Party Caucus of the Texas Legislature.