Spending Cap More Popular Than Ever

By the largest margin yet, Republican Primary voters want a constitutionally strict limit on how fast government can grow. More than 94 percent of GOP voters — 1.3 million of the 1.4 million votes cast — want all levels of government restricted to the growth of population and inflation.

This was the most popular proposition on the ballot. The language read:

Out of control spending should be stopped at all levels of federal and state government through constitutional amendments limiting any increase in government spending to the combined increase of population and inflation without voter approval.

It came in stronger than repealing ObamaCare (93 percent), support for school prayer (91%), promoting school choice (84.5 percent) and redrawing the 2012 district lines again in 2013 (75.6 percent).

More significantly, in every contested legislative race voters approved of spending limits in higher proportions than they elected or re-elected lawmakers.

In the previous primaries, voters approved the non-binding resolution by increasing percentages: 90 percent in 2006, 92 percent in 2008 and 92 percent in 2010.

With the good news this week that state revenues are coming in higher than expected, voters should be rightly worried lawmakers will do what they have done in the past — spend every dollar. That is part of what’s caused the 300 percent growth in state government from 1990 to 2010, despite population and inflation increases of less than 120 percent.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, however, is pushing state agencies to curb their fiscal appetites. he has told agencies to prepare budgets with a 10 percent cut in mind. The governor has made strict spending limits a cornerstone of the Texas Budget Compact.

Will Republican majority take action on what is clearly the will of their voters? The current House and Senate leadership has refused to allow even a floor vote on the measure — especially poignant given the House had a GOP super-majority in 2009. Perhaps we need more representative leadership?