On January 13, the True Texas Project hosted a Gubernatorial Forum for Republican Candidates for Governor. Among the attendees were former Republican State Sen. Don Huffines, former Florida Republican Congressman and former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West, and conservative humorist Chad Prather. The incumbent Governor, Greg Abbott was not in attendance.
Several questions were asked as a part of the forum including some pertaining to property taxes, a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying, and government spending. The following is a summary of the responses on the topic of government spending and part three of three in this series:
Cutting Government Spending
“How do you propose to cut the budget?”
The first to answer was former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West. He said,
“Number one, we have to go from a baseline-budget system to a zero-based budget system. The other thing is we have to start looking at all of those Sunset Advisory Commission recommendations that have been given to the government, and the thing is that those are just recommendations, they go then to the next legislative session and what do you see happening in most of these legislative sessions? They don’t implement those recommendations and so that is what I want to do, and including in the very first budget that I propose and get these legislators to understand that we are going to be serious about cutting spending here in the Texas state government.”
“You know we talk about the budget surplus that we have but really Texas is running about a one-hundred and seven billion dollar ($107B) debt because we are not taking into account the unfunded mandates, the liabilities, the pensions, the things of this nature. We saw what happened up in Dallas, Texas where they did not account for the police pension funds and they had to try to go down to the state government to get them to backfill them. We don’t want to see that happen here in the state of Texas, so we have this Sunset Advisory Commission, we need to look at those recommendations, we’ve got to move away from this baseline budget system, to a zero-based budget system, and it starts with a budget that I will propose, that I will put out there, that will show that I am serious about cutting the spending and not the rate of the increase of the spending.”
Former Republican State Senator Don Huffines was next to answer,
“Government never has enough of your money. Never. Well, the first thing that we need to do is to make sure that they don’t get it. It’s not how much revenue they bring in, it’s about how much money they are spending. It’s all about the spending. So look, we are going to cap it, when I do my property tax, ninety percent (90%) of that revenue growth is going to be used to buy-down property tax, that alone will eliminate a lot of excess government. The other thing that we need to think about is illegal immigration, how much we are spending on illegal immigration. Most Texans don’t realize that we have been educating hundreds of thousands, the estimates are four-hundred to six-hundred thousand kids, and our government school system, for two or three decades, and they are English as a second language, that’s fourteen thousand dollars ($14,000) a kid, thats six billion dollars ($6B) a year that you are spending for children that aren’t supposed to be here. When I secure the border, which I am going to get done in thirty (30) days, and I am the only person that is ever going to make sure that happens, I’m the actual Republican that is actually going to do something, I’m telling you, we are going to save so much money, healthcare, incarceration, health and human services.”
Huffines continued his response,
“Right now, eighty percent (80%) of the Texas budget is two buckets, education and health and human services. Everything else is twenty percent (20%) of that. Well imagine if we got rid of illegal immigration, and all of those kids went home. I’m going to have an e-Verify law that’s the toughest you have ever seen. I’ve already got it written. If you employ one person, one person, you are going to have to get e-Verify done. And then we are going to modify it to get a Texas e-Verify system. We are going to get the illegals out of our colleges, where they get in-state tuition, and they are taking chairs away from your children. That’s costing us millions of dollars. We are going to get rid of the Enterprise Fund, the Governor’s personal slush fund to pay Facebook to come to Texas, and we are going to give that back to taxpayers.”
Conservative humorist Chad Prather was last to answer the question,
“The government is going to spend exactly what you give them. They are going to find ways. As I said earlier, the Operational Fund Transfers, if this agency is running out of money, then they are just going to transfer it from over here, they are not going to give you a refund, so we have got to stop the money that we are giving them. We’ve got to disincentivize them from spending, so I agree with that, when it comes to illegals that are coming across the border, the healthcare, the welfare, the education, all of these things that we are spending, that’s just a perfect example, but there are one-hundred seventy four (174) state agencies typically in the state of Texas, there is more now with the Coronavirus pandemic, and there are so many of those that need to be gone, they need to go away, they don’t serve any purpose. One is the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission). The TABC is just a long arm of the law, it’s another big government form for the Governor to reach out and penalize you in a certain way. You can roll that over to the Department of Licensing and Regulation, and we don’t need another law enforcement arm like the TABC. We can go down the list, we can roll these things into other things, we’ve got to get the government out of our lives, we’ve got to make it smaller if we are ever going to consider Texas great again.”
Incumbent Governor Greg Abbott
Abbott was not in attendance at the forum but as he has been elected since 2015, he has a record we can review.
Since first being elected in 2015, the amount the state appropriates to fund the government has grown almost $50B to nearly $250B as approved by the state legislature for the 2022 and 2023 biennium.