POSTED: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 6:22pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 6:24pm
State Representative Bryan Hughes is running for Speaker of the House.
But whether he wins or not, the next session of the legislature has some very tough decisions to make.
District 5 Representative Bryan Hughes says we are spending too much.
And he wants to limit how much it can grow.
“We still haven’t passed in the house that limits the growth of government to population growth plus inflation,” SAYS Hughes. “And we recognize that as our population grows that there’s more demand on our schools, on our roads. We understand that, so population growth makes sense. Inflation makes sense because things cost more.”
But Texas is seeing 85,000 new students every year, and they aren’t taxpayers. They are consumers of services.
“Well, you’re focusing on public school growth, well those kids aren’t taxpayers, but their parents are,” he countered. “They pay sales tax, they pay property tax, either directly or indirectly.’
But if only half your new population is paying taxes, and all of them are consuming, can you continue to fund the government?
Hughes says the answer is honesty. “What I tell folks is, if we’ll do some truth in budgeting. Tell folks the money is going to go where we said it’s going to go. If we do that and deal with the existing revenue and put it in the right place, we’ll build some faith with the voters and then maybe we can see what we still need.”
Texas also has to plan for adequate water supplies.
“I think that one possible solution there is to look at the rainy day fund, and asking the voters to dedicate a portion of that toward water,” he says.
But the Rainy Day fund is spoken for. The last budget underfunded Medicaid and education. It is already essentially spent.
“Actually, what I was proposing on the rainy day fund is to go to the voters and ask them about dedicating a portion of it going forward,” Hughes answered.
Hughes also sees benefit in the expansion of Texas toll roads, built and run by foreign companies…with some caveats.
“They have to be done very carefully and in the light of day,” he told us. “I don’t like the way some of them are being done in North Texas.”
Hughes agreed that college tuitions are out of control, but was adamant in our conversation that we can live with the revenue stream we have.