Yesterday, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) adopted a two-year spending limit for the upcoming 2014-15 budget cycle. The limit, which only applies to certain types of spending (see here), sets the ceiling for state spending growth at 10.7 percent, slightly above the rate of projected population growth and inflation (9.85 percent).
The adoption of a rate above the rate of population growth plus inflation is a bit of a disappointment for conservatives, but it’s not an unfamiliar sting. In fact, it’s been happening for quite some time.
From LBB testimony to the Senate Finance Committee on August 29, 2012:
As you can see, the adopted growth rate (far left column) has met or exceeded the growth of population and inflation (far right column) in every biennium since 1994-95. In some cases, by quite a lot.
All of this means that spending is growing at a faster clip than most conservatives are comfortable with and, in fact, some of them are beginning to express their frustration at this (see here).
To their credit, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said, and Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams agreed, that the Senate budget would be kept “within a number representing inflation plus population growth.” But we’re a long way from a final budget and there’s a lot yet that can happen.