A Working Plan For Texans

A Working Plan For Texans
By Greg Abbott
McAllen Monitor
October 28, 2013

As I travel this state in my campaign for governor, I find the issue foremost on the minds of Texans is jobs. The Texas job climate is good, but it can be better. Unemployment is still two points higher than pre-recession levels. Our water and transportation infrastructure are not keeping pace with the growth of our state. Government at all levels is saddled with too much debt. Left unresolved, these challenges that today represent cracks in our foundation, could cause serious economic damage to Texas taxpayers.

I offer my “Working Texans” plan to serve as a catalyst for a new era of economic expansion. I am especially concerned about giving small businesses the same opportunity to grow and succeed as Fortune 500 companies. The folks on Wall Street are doing just fine. We need to rebuild Main Street.

My plan has a basic operating premise: control the growth of government in order to grow the economy. I offer five fiscal reforms that will constrain the size and scope of state government, letting Texans keep more of their money.

State spending should not exceed population growth and inflation and I will propose a constitutional change that keeps state spending within that limit. The state will be able to provide necessary services to the population as it grows without going overboard. Additionally, the governor must have expanded line-item veto authority to ensure that spending can be contained as prudence requires.

Under my plan, we will protect the Rainy Day Fund, the state savings account, from being spent down by clearly defining and limiting its uses. Also, when the Rainy Day Fund exceeds 10 percent of the state budget, instead of returning excess dollars to the state budget, it will be dedicated to debt or tax relief.

Texans also deserve to know more about how their tax dollars are being spent. To do that, I will end the practice that takes billions of dollars intended for one purpose only to have it spent on something entirely different. I will seek a constitutional amendment to end this spending shell game.

Opportunity flourishes most and best when individuals, families, communities and private companies are free to work, save and invest. But there are certain shared resources that only government can manage, and shared responsibilities that only government can meet.

Government should invest in the tools of self-sufficiency: quality schools, modern roads, abundant water and reliable power.

The water supply is critical to our economy, to farms and ranches, to our way of life. We need to build the next generation of water projects that will ensure Texas is water secure for the next 50 years. And I will work to ensure the state water fund is focused on the right priorities.

Critical to our economy is better transportation infrastructure. I support ending all diversions from the state highway fund to other spending programs. Money raised for roads will be spent on roads. I also believe it is time to dedicate a substantial portion of the motor vehicle sales tax to road construction and maintenance. These changes will add billions of additional dollars to keep Texans moving.

We need a permanent source of additional transportation funding, not one-time patches to our fiscal potholes. And we need to prioritize fixing border checkpoints for legitimate commercial traffic that have become economic chokepoints. Commercial delays are impacting local economies, especially in places like the Rio Grande Valley.

We have the greatest economy in America. Let’s protect it from Washington-style spending and debt. Let’s focus on Working Texans, making the economy better for the middle class, and the next generation of Texans.

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