Voices Empower

Breaking; The First Vote – Setting the Tone for the Texas Legislative Session

Texas Defenders of Freedom, this is your first post-election call to action!

By JoAnn Fleming 
Executive Director (volunteer), Grassroots America – We the People  www.gawtp.com

Photo by Texas Budge Source

We must pull together to hold our state officials accountable for their number one responsibility – to protect the life, liberty, and property of the citizens of Texas. We cannot survive what is coming to our nation if Texas is not principled and its legislative decisions are not strongly rooted in liberty-based values of limited, fiscally responsible government and the rule of law.

The First Vote – Setting the Tone for the Texas Legislative Session
The Texas Legislative Budget Board meets tomorrow (Thursday, November 15) at 10 AM in the Senate Finance Committee Hearing Room, Capitol Extension, Room E1.036. The LBB will vote to set the spending limit on part of the 2014-2015 budget for the 2013 legislative session. This vote will set the tone and direction for the legislative session, which begins January 8, 2013. For those who live in the Austin area, this is a posted public meeting, which means you have every right to show up and observe the vote.
What is the Legislative Budget Board and who is on the Board?
The LBB isa legislative service agency whose statutory purpose is fiscal and policy analysis for members of the legislature. It is similar to the federal Congressional Budget Office (CBO). By law, the Legislative Budget Board is made up of the Lt. Governor (David Dewhurst – Rep.), the Speaker of the TX House (currently, Joe Straus – Rep.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (Senator Tommy Williams – Rep.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee (State Rep. Jim Pitts – Rep.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran – Rep.), and three members appointed by the Lt. Governor (Sen. Robert Duncan – Rep.; Senator Judith Zaffirini – Dem.; Senator Juan Hinojosa – Dem.) and two other members of the House, appointed by the Speaker (State Rep. Dan Branch – Rep. and State Rep. Sylvester Turner – Dem.).
WarningThe average conservative ratings of the LBB’s members over the past THREE legislative sessions are Sen. Williams = D; Sen. Duncan = F; Sen. Hinojosa = F; Sen. Zaffirini = F; Rep. Pitts = D; Rep. Hillderbran = C; Rep. Branch = C+; Rep. Turner = F. Speaker Straus has already come out strongly in favor of more spending.
Why is this first vote for the upcoming 83rd legislative session so important?
Historically, the spending limit set by the LBB has not been a real limit on government growth. Our state constitution allows the legislature to decide what measuring stick the LBB can use to set the limit; they currently use projected personal income growth. As a result, the state government has set budgets based on available cash and Washington DC-like budget gimmicks such as fund diversions, accounting tricks/deferrals, tax speed-ups, a Medicaid ‘credit card’ and inflation of property values). This practice must end this session!
Your Call to Action – Texas Needs YOU!
Reasons to set a conservative spending limit:1)National economic uncertainty demands fiscal discipline for the State of Texas; 2) the current state budget contains spending outside the core constitutional functions of state government, wasteful practices in the administration of social services (Medicaid) and many overlapping, duplicated depts/agencies/programs (38 in Natural Resource management); 3) higher spending and debt drive higher taxes and fees, which Texans cannot afford – especially with higher federal taxes are on the way and a $16+ trillion federal debt.
Please call the LBB members today and before 9:30 AM tomorrow. In your best professional, firm, statesman-like voice (no yelling, name-calling, swearing or threats), ask them to set the spending limit at what families and small businesses can afford – not what special interests want. Ask the Legislative Budget Board members to set a spending limit at or below the sum of population growth plus inflation for the 2014-15 budget cycle – no more than 4.2% per year. Tell them setting a spending rate above 4.2% is completely unjustifiable and unacceptable. The legislature can find spending cuts to live within this limit and still properly fund the core constitutional functions of state government. [Source:Analysts at Empower Texans say population growth in Texas has been at about 1.7% per year, while inflation has averaged 2.5% during the last decade, for a combined rate of 4.2%.]
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (R)
Send e-mail to Dewhurst’s Chief of Staff:Blaine.Brunson@ltgov.state.tx.us
Austin Office:  512 463-0001
Fax: 512-463-0677
House Speaker (current) Joe Straus (R)
Austin Office:  (512) 463-1000
Fax:   (512) 463-0675
Senator Tommy Williams (R) (average fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = D)
Austin Office:
 (512) 463-0104
(512) 463-6373 fax
Beaumont District Office:
 (409) 896-2350
(409) 896-2454 fax
The Woodlands District Office
 (281) 364-9426
(281) 364-9473 fax
Senator Robert Duncan (R) (average fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = F)
Austin Office:
 (512) 463-0128
Fax: (512) 463-2424
Lubbock Office:
 (806) 762-1122
Fax: (806) 749-2828
San Angelo Office:
 (325) 481-0028
Fax: (325) 655-2541
Childress Office:
 (940) 937-0909
Fax: (940) 937-6994
Senator Juan Hinojosa (D) (average fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = F)
Austin Office:
 (512) 463-0120
(512) 463-0229 Fax
McAllen Office:
 (956) 972-1841
(956) 664-0602 Fax
Corpus Christi Office:
(361) 225-1200
(361) 225-3576
(361) 225-0119 Fax
Senator Judith Zaffirini (D) (average fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = F)
Austin Office:
(512) 463-0121
Laredo Office:
(956) 722-2293
(956) 722-8586 (fax)
San Antonio Office:
(210) 657-0095
State Rep. Jim Pitts (R) (avg fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = D)
Austin Office:
 (512) 463-0516
(512) 463-1051 Fax
Waxahachie Office:
(972) 938-9392
(972) 937-2842 Fax
State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R) (avg fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = C)
Austin Office
(512) 463-0536
(512) 463-1449 Fax
Kerrville Office:
(830) 257-2333
(830) 792-4289 Fax
State Rep. Dan Branch (R) (avg fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = C+)
Austin Office:
(512) 463-0367
(512) 322-9935 Fax
Dallas Office:
 (214) 745-5768
(214) 745-5883 Fax
State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D) (avg fiscal responsibility rating last 3 sessions = F)
Austin Office:
(512) 463-0554
(512) 463-8380 Fax
Houston Office:
(713) 683-6363
(713) 957-0718 Fax
Joe Straus Speaker Showdown

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Knowledge is Power and together we can make the difference!!

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