insiders-garlic-spending-limits-texasSpending limits and political reality

November 16, 2011 | Articles

Two of the popular talking points for campaigning Republicans worried about their conservative authenticity are: 1) the passage of voter ID and 2) the passage of the sonogram bill.

Yes, these things happened, and against the maneuvering of many of the people bragging loudest about these accomplishments, but these two things also serve to contextualize a third: spending limits.

On the 2010 Republican primary ballot, there were five ballot propositions. Ballot propositions exist to give primary voters a voice on legislative priorities. They don't carry binding weight, but they do make known the will of Republican voters, setting up some accountability.

Ballot proposition #1 on the 2010 Republican primary ballot was voter ID. Almost 93% of Republican primary voters said they wanted it.

Ballot proposition #5 was the sonogram bill. Almost 69% of Republican primary voters said they wanted it.

These ballot propositions turned into legislation and were voted into law during the 82nd legislature.

Another ballot propsition passed with overwhelming support but was not made into law.

Ballot proposition #2 was "controlling government growth", a.k.a. spending limits, capping spending growth at population growth plus inflation. Just under 92% of Republican primary voters said they wanted it.

This is an eminently sane fiscal measure that insiders react to like vampires to crosses and garlic. See, they've found their moneymaking opportunity, tax revenues, and spending limits limit their upside. They react to spending limits how anyone else would react to legislation that says their industry cannot expand anymore. It's virtually an act of war. Only, the widget industry being told it cannot expand would be a restriction of liberty, a cap on economic growth, and morally repugnant. A cap on government growth is the opposite of those three things.

Spending limits are overwhelmingly desired by the people Texas’ ruling party says they represent. The percentage,  91.9%, is high enough that failure is high handed insubordination by elected officials.

People who treat spending limits as impossible or unpopular are not being honest. They just don't like crosses and garlic.

--2010 Republican primary ballot results (ballot propositions at the very end - scroll all the way down)

Weston Hicks

Weston Hicks researches and writes about associations in the Texas political realm, media choices, and political strategy. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at El Paso and a J.D. from University of Texas School of Law. He enjoys spending time with wife and five children, reading, and playing sports outide. You can reach him at [email protected]