Public Officials Need Support to Do What’s Right

August 16, 2010

Weatherford Democrat

Steve Boggs

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, addressed the Business Before Breakfast meeting of the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce Friday morning. Aside from touching on the familiar conservative talking points, King went out of his way to ask the public to stand behind their elected officials in the budget-cutting times to come.

For that, he deserves an attaboy.

There are budget-cutting times ahead, and everyone who holds public office right now is going to have to make some tough choices. Tax revenues are down, and this recession is showing no signs of letting up any time soon. Even the mighty Texas economy, the best in the U.S. by far, is expected to contract by $18 billion over the next two-year budget cycle.

It’s clear that there are but two choices: Raise taxes or cut spending. Texas doesn’t have the option of deficit spending because the state’s constitution doesn’t allow it. Unlike California, the state isn’t facing $40 billion in debt on top of a yearly budget deficit.

Still, there is work to be done. With revenues down and the federal government spending money like a drunken sailor, state lawmakers will roll up their sleeves and tackle an $18 billion budget shortfall come January. They should not take on debt, and there is no appetite for a tax increase at the state level, so that leaves but one option: spending cuts.