FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2015
(512) 463-0120 office
AUSTIN, TX – Today, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa was joined by Lt. Governor Patrick, Senator Nelson, Chair of Senate Finance, and Senator Eltife to announce the filing of two bills by Senator Hinojosa. Senator Hinojosa filed Senate Joint Resolution (S.J.R.) 4 and Senate Bill (S.B.) 16 to except appropriations for debt service from the constitutional spending limit.
S.B. 16 and S.J.R. 4 have been tapped as priorities by the Lt. Governor and were assigned low bill numbers to signify their importance.
Senator Hinojosa also joined Senator Nelson and Senator Eltife as a joint-author on S.B. 15 and S.J.R. 3 to exempt appropriations for tax-relief from the constitutional spending cap.
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"Debts today become taxes tomorrow. As Texans we pride ourselves as a pay-as-you-go-state. But in the past 12 years our state and local debt has skyrocketed.
"As responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars we need to rein in our dependence on debt and get serious about paying off our current outstanding debt.
"Texas' Constitutional Spending Limit ties our hands on our ability to pay-down our debt when we have healthy General Revenue balances and a strong Rainy Day Fund because appropriations for debt service is counted towards the constitutional spending cap.
"S.B. 16 and S.J.R. 4 offer a common sense approach to paying off current obligations. These bills will empower the Legislature to be conservative fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars by having the flexibility to pay-down our state debt when we can without going against the spending limit.
"I am also proud to join Senator Nelson and Senator Eltife in filing S.B. 15 and S.J.R. 3 to exempt appropriations for tax relief from the spending cap. The spending cap was designed to limit the growth of government. Giving tax-payers their money back does not grow government and should not count as government spending."
"Exempting appropriations for tax relief and debt relief from the spending cap will free-up more dollars for critical areas like education and infrastructure in the state budget without busting the constitutional spending cap."
"I am pleased to be working with Lt. Governor Patrick and my joint-authors, Senator Nelson and Senator Eltife on these important pieces of legislation. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we advance these bills this session."
The facts are:
- From fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2013, total state debt outstanding increased by 188% to $43.5 billion.
- Total debt-per-capita in Texas increased over the last decade by 52% from $1,085 to $1,646 per person.
- The Texas Comptroller estimates that the debt service (principal + interest) on all outstanding state debt is $75.5 billion.
- S.B. 2 as introduced appropriates $3.9 billion in debt service.