I spent all day Wednesday trying to get information regarding the “deal” struck between Pitts and Governor Perry, which was backed by Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Comptroller Combs, and House Speaker Straus. No details of the deal were available on the State’s website. I contacted Senator Dan Patrick, chair of the Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus to request any information he could provide and to let him know we (members of the TP Caucus Advisory Committee) wanted a line item list of detailed spending cuts included in the deal. I asked him (as the presiding TP Caucus Chair) to request the information from House members of the TP Caucus, and in particular the Tea Party Caucus Vice-Chair Phil King. Representative King called late afternoon to confirm that no details of the deal had been distributed by the House Appropriations Committee, but he promised to get a line item list of cuts to us today, if at all possible.
Once we receive the list of documented cuts for the current biennium, we will match those cuts with those proposed by the TX Conservative Coalition Research Institute and the “Fourteen Point Plan to Cut State Spending” which I authored for the Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee. These Fourteen Points were distributed to all state officials; the message to make every reasonable cut possible before approving a “smash and grab” of the Rainy Day Fund could not have been clearer!
I remain highly skeptical that every possible solution to reduce spending in the current biennium was fully explored and exercised before grabbing the Rainy Day Fund umbrella. Because there is a literal tsunami of exploding costs of Medicaid coming to Texas, the rising cost of fuel that will surely have a depressive impact on the economy, the financial crisis ahead for our nation caused by obscene waste, insane spending, and cowardice in DC, and the added economic stress due to global unrest and natural disasters, I am pretty sure we will all rue the day any money was used from the RDF.
As soon as we receive the list of spending cuts for the current budget shortfall and match those against the well-researched opportunities to cut state spending, I will issue a statement to you and to the media. I will also be working with my colleagues on the Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee on a statement which will have statewide release.
Bottom line: if Formula 1 Racetrack event funding, non-essential spending outside of core constitutional functions, duplicated agencies and programs, a pay cut for all but the lowest paid of state employees, and a pay cut for statewide elected officials are not included in the list of cuts, the use of the Rainy Day Fund will be declared as unacceptable. The prevailing question is this: Why should the state be exempt from the hardest choices families and businesses have to make? We’ll keep calling on elected officials for an answer. Texas must not become California.
JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director (volunteer)
Grassroots America – We the People www.gawtp.com
(903) 894-7204 home office or (903) 360-2858 cell