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June 3, 2014      7:13 PM

Updated: TPPF revises estimate in Texas spending growth down to 9%

Nowhere close to 26%; think tank says its numbers now are based on a different analysis and there's no inconsistency

Update at 7:13pm: Needless to say, TPPF strongly objected to this analysis pointing out that their report today only examined spending inside the biennium and does not include any anticipated supplemental appropriation that might be required by the next legislature.  But that is the point.  The economy fell off a cliff and the 2013 session had to fund current services while covering the hot checks that anticipated revenues did not end up covering from 2011 appropriations. 

The problem is that they left the impression of a spendthrift legislature which penalized lawmakers for covering appropriations in 2011 that no one in good faith could have anticipated would end up being unfunded.  The marker they left was the WSJ story they left uncorrected that implied a spending frenzy rather than a responsible rush to cover hot checks. In effect, the 26% was about three years while the 9% was about two years with no mention of a future supplemental.

TPPF's Vice President of Research Bill Peacock this afternoon repeatedly declined to answer whether the Wall Street Journal misrepresented the think tank's analysis in the newspaper’s editorial last year. – HK

Original story:

The conservative think tank in Austin where Midland oilman Tim Dunn is Vice Chairman of the board on Tuesday released a report saying that Texas state government spending saw a 9 percent increase over the previous biennium.

In their new report, which you can see here, the Texas Public Policy Foundation said their analysts looked at the finished budget and did comparisons going back to 2004.

The 9 percent figure is, of course, far less than their previous estimate of as much as a 26 percent increase in state spending that was splashed on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal under the headline “Texas Goes Sacramento” and was repeated ad nauseam by Tea Party candidates running against establishment Republicans in the recent primaries and runoffs.

By Scott Braddock