Legislative Budget Board shake-up needed

Pratt on TexasFor The Texas Monitor, Mark Lisheron wrote: “After editorials in most of the major newspapers in Texas condemned him for diminishing and demoralizing the state’s Legislative Budget Board, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick fired back.”

“Somewhere along the line — whether intentionally, by liberal bureaucratic drift, or at the direction of past leadership — some staff at LBB began to take on the role of telling lawmakers, who were elected by the people, what programs should be funded and how taxpayer dollars should be spent,” Patrick wrote in an op-ed column carried by several of those same papers.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

“Patrick said the attack he was accused of making was, instead, a “re-shaping and downsizing” of the budget board. He said he and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen would be meeting in the coming months to appoint a new director, a post that has gone unfilled for more than a year, to restore some stability in the agency,” Lisheron said.

The Legislative Budget Board, or LBB, was created in the 1940’ by the Legislature and its board is made up of elected officials: the lieutenant governor, the House speaker and their eight appointees. In recent years, we have had example after example of the agency playing politics with budget numbers and publications which favor one faction over another.

In one of several op-eds recently, Lieutenant Governor Patrick wrote: “Some LBB staff began to push the state budget agency in a liberal direction that did not comport with the vision of the state‘s conservative majority. The lawmakers Texans elected to be accountable for state spending had little control over hiring and firing or the direction and accountability of the agency.”

Patrick is right, the evidence supports his claims, and his effort to shake-up the insiders’ agency is well needed.

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