By STATE SEN. CRAIG ESTES
Texas is the 14th largest economy in the world and is roughly the same size as the economy of Australia. With such a large economy, the hard-working people of our great state expect their leaders in Austin to provide for the critical infrastructure needed to keep our economy strong, such as water, transportation and public education, while balancing the budget and without raising taxes.
I am proud to say the budget enacted by the 83rd Texas Legislature does all of that in a responsible, reasonable and conservative way. It addresses the needs of our fast-growing population, which grew by 1,176 people per day, every day, from 2000 to 2010.
It stands to reason that as more than 1,000 people move to Texas every day because it is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, the more we will need to spend on roads, water and schools. Consequently, we increased funding for public education, roads and water infrastructure. Funding for public education was increased by $4 billion, transportation by $850 million, and for the first time ever the legislature acted to fund the state water plan that, if approved by the voters, would appropriate $2 billion from the Rainy Day fund to a loan program that would allow water districts and cities in North Texas and all over the state to finance desperately needed water projects. The overall budget, however, increased at a rate not exceeding population growth and inflation. This budget keeps Texas on top, and is neither wasteful nor reckless.
Recently, however, a few people and special interest groups have suggested that the Texas budget is not as conservative as it should be. They claim the budget spends $106 billion compared to $84 billion from two years ago. They cite that this is a whopping 26 percent increase of $22 billion in just two years.