Friday, January 21, 2011

Letter to the editor: Calling out Texas Republican leadership for failure to fix the budget

After ten years of Republican control of Texas state government and calls for small efficient government we’ve gotten a $27 billion state budget shortfall and nothing but talk about cutting spending. If there was really such waste in our state budget for the last decade why didn’t Texas Republicans deal with it earlier? The answer is there isn’t much waste in our already proportionally small budget but since the Republicans leadership hasn’t seen fit to address the structural problems of our tax code they need a scapegoat.

This Republican leadership failure will hurt citizens all across Texas because state agencies will be forced to cut jobs in an already depressed economy and add to the jobless rate. Those lost jobs will further reduce tax revenues because those folks won’t be spending and paying sales tax and they’ll be collecting unemployment insurance all further deepening the deficit.

With those jobs cuts will also come cuts in services like education and health care even though a recent poll shows that more than 70% of Texans don’t want those areas cut. In addition we can look forward to higher property taxes so that cities and counties can fund police and fire departments as well as hospital districts and schools.

All this and yet Gov. Perry and the Republican led legislature refuse to tap the Rainy Day Fund’s $9.4 billion which would at least ease the damage. If a $27 billion shortfall isn’t a rainy day I don’t know what is.

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