Including the deficits.
Texas has long been touted by conservatives as a model for fiscal conservatism — if you cut taxes, cut regulations, and cut government services, that will stimulate the economy and the benefits will “trickle down” to everyone. And for the last year, it looked like Texas might escape the budget woes that are afflicting other large states like California, New York, and New Jersey. The governor has even boasted of his “prudent fiscal decisions“.
Well, it turns out that their lack of budget problems was more due to the fact that Texas does its budgeting on a two year cycle instead of one. While governor Rick Perry predicted a state budget deficit around $10 billion or so, the state Comptroller’s report puts the deficit at $27 billion. That puts it in the same ballpark as California, which has become notorious for its staggering budget problems.
But the situation is actually worse in Texas, because given the conservative nature of the state it is virtually impossible to raise revenue through increased taxes, and state services are already so low there is little to cut. Their whole budget is basically education and healthcare spending, and Texas already near the bottom on education spending per child, while leading the nation in the percentage of residents without health insurance. In fact, close to one out of every four children live below the poverty line in Texas, and the governor is proposing to severely cut child support services even more to address the budget shortfall.
Are these the “death panels” that people should be screaming about?