The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) yesterday published its comprehensive Texas State Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Report(GEER), and one of the data points that leapt off the page was the amount of federal economic stimulus money that has flowed to Texas.
From the GEER report (pg. 14):
“Texas state agencies and public institutions of higher education reported $24.6 billion in economic stimulus funds, as of September 9, 2012. As of that date, they spent 95 percent of the funds.
Texas received $29.6 billion in economic stimulus funds. This includes state and local governments, non-profits, and private companies.”
The obvious danger here is that there is no such thing as a “free” lunch. Federal funds almost always come with strings attached, such that one-time monies from D.C. have a habit of become recurring expenses that state and local taxpayers must pay. The GEER report does not estimate how much, if any, of the $25 billion to $30 billion in federal economic stimulus directed at Texas has become recurring expense, but if history is our guide then you can bet it’s fairly sizable percentage.