Lots and lots of talk these days about whether to use the Rainy Day fund or not, from both sides of the ideological fence. Overlooked is that there are two separate, and very unequal, applications of that Rainy Fund that are being mixed together and creating an awful lot of confusion for those of us that live in the trailer park. First, we have the 2010-11 budget that is projected to be short of revenue come July to the tune of $4,300,000,000 (that’d be $4.3 BILLION). Second, we have the 2012-13 budget that hasn’t been written yet, so the plain truth is that there isn’t a shortfall, or a deficit, or anything else other than a bunch of arguing about what we should pay for and what we can cut.
In the first instance, the budget that the 81st Legislature wrote and Gov. Rick Perry signed, I’d suggest that it isn’t the responsibility of the current legislature to deal with it, other than funding that shortfall. The current Republican dominated legislature, elected just a few months ago by an electorate that understood the need to reduce the size of government, would never have produced the budget that came out of the 81st. To be fair, the members of the 81st did attempt to cut spending in the interim period before the current session but those cuts did not go far enough to close the gap. Still, it is what it is, as they say, and something must be done to close that gap.
The burden for closing it must fall on the shoulders of Gov. Perry. He is the executive and he must now assume that role as never before. He must either identify $4,300,000,000 in savings and then implement them in time for them to work, or he must go back to the legislature, tell them that he cannot find the savings, and ask them to use the money set aside for this very reason. It really is that simple.
But, but…what if some groups do not like the areas that he decides to cut? Well, he’ll just have to pull out the old saying from President Barack Obama: elections matter. They certainly do and it is time to pull that card out and play it. For the current budget (2010-11) only.
In the second instance, the 2012-13 budget, the legislature must say no. No to any use of the Rainy Day fund, period. That fund is there to be used if something goes wrong, as it has with the budget produced by the 81st legislature. If the Republican dominated 82nd legislature cannot produce a balanced budget without the need for more revenue than the Comptroller is projecting ($72.2 BILLION), then they are going to have to buck up and raise taxes.
As Ed Hubbard noted, $72,200,000,000 is a LOT of money and it very well could be enough. But it will only be enough if the Republican dominated 82nd legislature has the courage to withstand the sob stories and attacks from the left, with their media cohorts. And if they determine that it will not be enough, then they have to have the courage to withstand the flames and attacks from the right and Tea Party groups. Either way, they must refrain from using the Rainy Day fund to balance the 2012-13 budget.
Speaking of Tea Party groups, both the Tea Party Advisory Committee and the Katy Tea Patriots are against spending any of the Rainy Day fund on either issue. You can read the TPAC position here. Below is a release sent out by the Katy Tea Party Patriots advising their members to contact Rep. John Zerwas about this issue:
Katy Tea Party Patriots has learned that Texas State Representative Dr. John Zerwas has stated that his constituents want to use most of the $9.4 billion Texas Rainy Day Fund to help ease the pain of Texas’ current $15 to $25 billion budget deficit. While cutting funding for education and medicine will be difficult, Katy Tea Party Patriots believes that cutting out the cancerous spending and feeling the pain now will be better for our area, rather than covering the cancer with bandaids and painkillers. Even the Texas Tea Party Advisory Committee, whose members advise the Texas Tea Party Caucas that Dr. Zerwas belongs to, has voted unanimously against using any of Texas’ Rainy Day Fund.
This is like taking out a debt consolidation loan and still charging up all your credit cards! The harsh reality that America must face is that we have been living on credit and borrowed time for too long. We as citizens have had to balance our budgets at home, businesses have had to cut expenses and balance their budgets and it is time that the governments, locally, at the state level and federally realize that the same is expected of them. We are only leaving a harsh reality of debt to disaster for our children and grandchildren if we do otherwise.
Katy Tea Party Patriots encourage Dr. John Zerwas’ constituents to contact him by clicking here and let him know that you do not agree with him, and you do not want to use any of the Texas’ Rainy Day Fund right now.
Kelly Horsley, President
Katy Tea Party Patriots
I contacted Mrs. Horsley to make certain that their position was not to use the Rainy Day fund in either case, current or future. She confirmed that it was.
If I were Rep. Zerwas, or any other Republican representative, this is what I would tell any tea party group if they told me not to use the Rainy Day fund to cover the current budget:
“Where’s the beef? Show me $4,300,000,000 in specific cuts and I’ll listen.”
Until that happens, it is simply rhetoric to insist that our legislators “cut” a budget that they didn’t produce and not pay for current obligations with money that has been set aside to do just that.
And I’d say the same thing to Gov. Perry.