This is a Must Read, Folks.......
Via The Texas Tribune:
A coalition of tea party activists called on the Texas Legislature Tuesday to hold the line on taxes, crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, make deep spending cuts and enact several ethics and transparency reforms.
The Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee expressed support for Gov. Rick Perry’s so-called “budget compact,” aimed at ending budgetary tricks, limiting spending by Constitutional amendment and stopping any tax increases.
But the conservative group took direct aim at Perry elsewhere in its legislative agenda, entitled “Make Texas Strong.” The activists want the Legislature to zero out the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for a series of tax incentive programs championed by Perry as crucial economic development tools.
Some Highlights include (and you'll love these)
Getting Back to Basics – Make State Spending Fit into a Constitution-sized Box by: eliminating departments, agencies, commissions, and programs that exceed the core constitutional functions of state government (listed above). Texans for a Conservative Budget has compiled a list of spending items, which can be eliminated or reduced by streamlining. [Source: http://www.texaspolicy.com/center/fiscal-policy/reports/real-texas-budget-solutions-2013-and-beyond] Lawmakers should look to this list of reductions before they ever utter the words “we need sources of new revenue.” The Conservative Budget list includes the Texas Enterprise Fund, Texas Emerging Technology Fund, and the Special Events Fund, which is an extended subsidy for Formula 1 racing and other entertainment venues. These state funds mirror the federal government’s practice of tinkering with the economy. Central planning through subsidies is not the proper role of government in a free market society. State government has no business attempting to pick winners and losers and doling out tax dollars to special interests any more than the federal government does. It is time to end this form of corporate welfare in Texas.
Stop Chasing Federal Dollars – Make Texas Strong & Independent of Federal Strings; reduce state reliance on federal dollars and restrict all new federal grant programs.
Implement Tax and Expenditure Limits – State and local government spending from ALL sources should increase only by the sum of population growth plus inflation and no more. We support a constitutional amendment to set this limit in order to protect current and future taxpayers from excessive state spending.
Budget Transparency – practice truth in budgeting by ending diversions; a tax or fee should go to fund the original intent of the legislation that created the tax or fee; should a surplus occur, the fee or tax should be reduced, and the surplus used to reduce state debt.
Reforming Texas’ Public Pension Systems – According to recent reports from the Texas State Comptroller, the Texas retirement system, while fairly well funded compared to other states, is still legally liable to pay defined benefits totaling 10 to 20 times what state employees paid into the system. The legislature should institute these reforms: Freeze enrollment in the current defined benefit system and enroll newly hired or unvested employees in a 401(k)-style defined contribution pension plan.
Zero-based Budgeting – starts a budget from zero and requires justification for requested funding for each line item of a budget. This budgeting discipline has not been used by the State of Texas for the last nine years (2003), but should be instituted immediately to ensure taxpayers get the most value for their tax dollars.
The Rainy Day Fund (also known as the Economic Stabilization Fund) – should only be spent on one-time emergency items or tax relief. The fund should NOT be spent for ongoing expenses. If we truly believe in personal responsibility, then the State of Texas should lead and preserve the Rainy Day Fund for true natural and man-made disasters. We need look no further than the recent example of the devastation wreaked by super storm Sandy. The states of New York and New Jersey immediately turned to the federal government for relief, and many of the people of those states are still waiting, months later. The Rainy Day Fund should be preserved so that Texas can be strong and less dependent on the federal government in times of disaster.
Reducing State Debt – We should avoid a state fiscal cliff by resisting the temptation to add to our state debt just because interest rates are low. Soaring debt is just as wrong for our state as it is for the federal government.
Restructuring state government — Texas state government must be restructured:
To reduce the size, scope, and cost of state government
Because state government is weighted down with far too many overlapping, duplicated efforts = numerous bureaucratic kingdoms. (Natural resources has approximately 38 individual departments/agencies and programs.) Refocus Sunset process on making government more efficient by abolishing agencies, committees, boards, and statutes and consolidating agency functions
State government should be reduced down to its core constitutional functions. Core functions should then be performed as efficiently and effectively as possible to achieve measurable results.
The Texas Legislature should mandate a state government-restructuring project for the interim, which would:
The Margins Tax – Abolish the gross margins tax, and begin by making the small business exemption permanent. The tax has underperformed, is complex, costly, and difficult to comply with. The tax is unfair as it is collected even from businesses that show no profit.
Property Tax Reform – Abolish and replace with a reformed sales tax that includes an adjusted tax rate and base.
Sales Tax – any increase in the sales tax base or the sales tax rate must be accompanied by reductions in other taxes. State and local governments should come to rely on consumption taxes as their main revenue generators.
State Income Tax – a non-starter! Texas is one of nine states without an income tax and should remain so. Texas should continue to encourage economic growth (a healthy tax base) by keeping taxes low and adopting pro-growth reforms.