Texas Public Policy Foundation: Forged in the Spirit of 1836
In the fight for freedom, the Texas Public Policy Foundation develops workable ideas for elected officials to consider in their roles as representatives of the people.
On Tuesday, Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy, testified before the Senate Finance committee urging lawmakers to make the budget more transparent so that taxpayers can more easily understand how the state is spending money.
As it’s written today, Mr. Heflin argued, one needs an advanced degree or an army of Legislative Budget Board analysts to track where the money goes in the appropriations bill. However, this can be remedied by changing the format of the bill. That is, moving from a strategic planning and budgeting system to a program-based budgeting system, the latter of which tracks state spending by program.
Other reforms put forward by Mr. Heflin included:
Currently, save a few number crunchers on staff for the Legislative Budget Board, and perhaps experienced members on the Finance and Appropriations committees, it is doubtful that anyone else can artfully decipher state expenditures from the appropriations bill alone. That is not the kind of transparency and confidence we seek from the people’s government. Texans deserve better.