Legislators, at the last moments of the Regular Session, got all lathered up about this idea of how to send more money to TxDOT for road maintenance. Their base idea is bad because its consequences could be near catastrophic for the state at some point. Cutting in half the amount we save to the rainy day fund permanently would put the state in financial peril at times when the oil and gas industry is not booming by ensuring that very little money would be going into the fund to handle budgetary shortfalls and expenses from unforeseen disasters. It’s also a bad idea from the TxDOT funding standpoint because the revenue stream is quite volatile and thus, for all the work, legislators aren’t truly fixing any a road maintenance funding problem.
Rep. Charles Perry pointed out on Pratt on Texas that between money available to appropriate and money recovered by ending some diversions, there is a billion dollars legislators could simply vote to send to TxDOT. That would provide even more money for the next few years than will their convoluted raid-the-rainy-day-fund-forever plan.
The governor has said that the House should have passed the set of bad bills which puts him on the side of reckless budgeting and makes me wonder if he’s simply lost interest in fiscal responsibility. House and Senate leadership seem super glued to this one bad idea to fund TxDOT and are unwilling to explore many other, better options. House members voted it down in the 2nd called session and if it’s the same plan that comes to a vote in the 3rd, they should vote it down again.