At least that seems to be the implication in Lt. Governor David Dewhurst's Op-Ed yesterday in the Statesman entitled, How Texas Lives Within Its Means:
“Given recent comments about our state’s budget, I feel it is time to separate fact from political fiction. The fact is, in stark contrast to the U. S. Congress, the Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to balance the state budget every two years, and that would have happened with or without any federal stimulus dollars. In 2007, I led the effort to save $7 billion to balance the revenue shortfall we anticipated this year. So it’s simply political fiction that stimulus dollars were necessary to balance our budget.”
Three cheers for fiscal sanity!
Immediately following his statement, the Statesman thought Mr. Dewhurst's claim seemed a little too convenient and embarked on some fact-checking:
“In order to balance the budget this biennium, which is $182 billion, we used $14 billion in federal stimulus money to balance it. We’re not expecting a similar amount of similar money to be available in the next two years because the federal government just doesn’t have it. So, assuming that’s true, you go into the next session with a $14 billion hole.”
That was Texas Republican Sen. Steve Ogden, or as you and I have come to know him Dewhurst’s chairman of the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee. It's refreshing to see that the gears of government are turning so efficiently down in Austin.