Estes, King have Bills in Hopper as Session Opens

January 9, 2013

Weatherford Democrat

Staff Reports

Texas lawmakers have a lot they hope to accomplish over the course of their 140-day legislative session that began Tuesday.

Their first order of business was electing a Speaker of the House, and Joe Straus was re-elected to that powerful position.

Parker County’s representatives at the state capitol went to work before Tuesday’s opening session, filing early several bills they hope to push through and make law.

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, filed ahead of the session bills to cap welfare and state spending, freeze state hiring and give school districts testing choices.

King’s HJR 52 is a constitutional amendment to limit the growth of state spending for welfare and entitlement programs to not exceed the corresponding rate of growth of total state spending. Under the increased federal health care mandates, Texas general revenue spending for Medicaid alone is likely to increase from $16.3 billion in 2012-13 to $38.3 billion by 2020-21, King said.

“Due to the ever-expanding mandates from the federal government, increased spending for welfare programs has caused the rest of the budget to suffer,” King explained, “Medicaid spending alone has more than doubled in the last decade and is on track to double costs every 10 years. Texas must limit the growth of welfare spending, or it will quickly overcome public education and transportation as the single largest item in the budget and become unsustainable.”