Patrick presses for limit on state spending

AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threw his weight behind legislation to impose a tighter cap on state spending Tuesday, just one week after proposing to effectively relax the limit by exempting tax relief and debt retirement from its strictures.

“This will make our government more responsive to our citizens, keep us on a budget like they’re on a budget, and still meet the needs that Texans want us to address,” Patrick said as he endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills.

The seeming contradiction – which Patrick said was no contradiction at all – is another sign of the tension as the push for tax relief by Republican leaders butts heads with a desire to meet long-standing state needs and stem an increasing reliance on debt.

Hancock’s proposal would require the budget cap to be calculated based on population growth plus inflation, a standard backed by Gov. Greg Abbott. The senator suggested that would show more fiscal restraint than the current standard, which uses personal income growth.

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