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Lieutenant Governor Wants Constitutional Amendment On Spending Cap

The concern is over Texas’ debt, and the interest that’s accruing.

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At the podium Senator Hinojosa, Senator Eltife, Senator Nelson, and Lt. Governor Patrick

 

The lieutenant governor is calling for a constitutional amendment to change the state’s spending cap. He says it could provide the legislature with more flexibility in years when the state’s economy is robust.

The state’s economy has been booming. But Senator Juan Hinojosa is worried about the state’s debt, and the interest that’s accruing.

“From fiscal year 2004, the state debt increased by 188 percent.” Hinojosa says. “With principal and interest, we owe $75.5 billion. At times when we have a healthy Rainy Day, we need to pay down the debt.”

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Money used to pay down debt is currently included in the state’s general budget, often coming close to hitting the spending cap. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says an amendment is needed to ensure that money used to pay down debt doesn’t count against the budget and frees up money for other priorities.

Otherwise…

“People would say, ‘Hey, you had $4.9 billion left. Why don’t you pay off some of that debt? Why don’t you send us some more of that money back?’ Sorry, the constitution doesn’t allow.”

Patrick says there’s enough money to both meet the state’s needs and provide for tax relief if a constitutional amendment excludes those items from the spending cap.

 

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