#TXlege Update: Deadlines and Dan Patrick Flip Flops

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This week in the #txlege marked the 60th day of the legislative session marking the last day to file bills and the the beginning of floor debate in the House and Senate that is not considered emergency legislation.

Many offices in the legislature took to locking their doors, ensuring that no lobbyist or advocate could get a last ditch pitch for their bill.

The Texas Tribune tweeted out this photo of signs posted on Senator Scwertner’s (R-Georgetown) office begging questions like, “If your bill is the best bill on the planet, why has no one filed it yet?”

During my time in #txlege my favorite sign posted on a committee door during some later session deadline day was, “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

If only that were true in real life for our lawmakers, because sadly a lack of preparation on Republican lawmaker’s part actually does constitute an emergency on everyone’s part.

These are the sweet nothings I feel like whispering into Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s ear sometimes (TMI?), and I can’t help but wonder if other lawmakers in the capitol – who are working other members for votes to solve real problems in Texas, instead of working the media – feel the same.

One of more startling developments this week was Dan Patrick did something kind of crazy. (I’m shocked, schocked! I tell you…)

Okay but like, how crazy are we talking here? Well as I reported last week Dan Patrick did a funny thing, he did something liberal – proposing a spending cap increase for debt and tax cuts.

Well this week, he proposed with Senator Kelly Hancock, Republican from North Richard Hills, to impose a tighter constitutional spending cap by having it be calculated by population plus inflation, as opposed to personal income growth which is how it is calculated now. This would no doubt create lower constitutional spending caps that the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) sets.

So not only is this proposal exactly opposite of the his proposal last week, it is a little dangerous considering (as I reported last week) that the current limit the LBB set for this session was the lowest possible one calculated.

While Governor Abbott and the ultra conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation support his change in the methodology of creating a spending cap based on population plus inflation, there are very serious problems with this proposal. The population plus inflation formula simply doesn’t account for growing infrastructure needs because the spending cap will be much lower if it is simply created with a population plus inlfation methodology.

And if we don’t account for the growing need for infrastructure, lack of preparation on the Republican leadership’s part surely will constitute an emergency for everyone.

I leave with a quote from Mike Collier, former comptroller candidate and certified public accountant.


About Author

Chaille Jolink

Chaille Jolink was born and raised in Austin, Texas and has more than a decade of experience working in Texas politics. Her interest began when she was a Senate Messenger in 2003, and she's since worked for several different legislators and candidates. She started reporting in 2007 for GalleryWatch.com, and has been a contributor to several different publications. Chaille is a graduate of the University of Texas and enjoys fashion, baseball, and playing any team sport. Chaille tweets @ChailleMcCann.

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