AUSTIN—-As part of ongoing efforts to make our state budget more transparent and accountable to taxpayers, Texas Speaker Joe Straus today appointed an Interim Committee on General Revenue Dedicated Accounts.
For more than 20 years, the state has allowed money that sits in GR-Dedicated funds to be used to certify the rest of the state budget. The amount of money in GR-Dedicated funds used for budget certification has grown steadily, reaching $4.9 billion in the current biennium.
Speaker Straus highlighted the issue during a visit to an Appropriations subcommittee in July.
"The practice of 'funds consolidation' has evolved from a one-time accommodation and turned into a decades-long bad habit in our state's budget process, and now is the time to move toward a fairer, simpler and more straightforward approach for Texas taxpayers." Speaker Straus said Tuesday.
Reps. Drew Darby of San Angelo and John Otto of Dayton will co-chair the Committee, which will study ways that the Legislature can use GR-Dedicated funds more appropriately and transparently.
"I thank the Speaker for recognizing the importance of this issue and giving me the opportunity to co-chair this committee," Representative Otto said. "We must look in-depth at each of these funds and have serious and frank discussions about them. I look forward to working with Chairman Darby and the committee in studying this issue and developing recommendations to bring before the legislature."
"I thank the Speaker for his leadership and commitment to unwind a problem twenty years in the making," Representative Darby said. "Fundamentally, government should provide the services people and businesses expect on those taxes and fees dedicated for a specific purpose. Truth in taxation also requires that we bring these revenues in line with fiscally responsible appropriations."
Also serving on the Committee will be:
Rep. Rafael Anchia (Dallas)
Rep. Larry Gonzales (Round Rock)
Rep. Patricia Harless (Spring)
Rep. Donna Howard (Austin)
Rep. Jose Menendez (San Antonio)
Rep. Jim Pitts (Waxahachie)
Rep. Sylvester Turner (Houston)
"In order to provide Texas taxpayers a more straightforward budget, discipline and difficult decisions will be required of the Legislature," Straus said. "I thank Representative Darby and Representative Otto for leading this group and the Members for agreeing to serve on this Committee as they develop solutions, and legislation, that all Members can support."
The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the House in early January.