If the father and mother of a normal family had the ability to earn adequate income to provide for the necessities for their family and yet refused or failed to give adequate sustenance or clothing to their children while all the while depositing portions of their income into a savings plan, such conduct would be considered child abuse. Or, at the very least, the parents would be deemed unfit or unwise. This is especially true if, while denying their children adequate care and stuffing money into their savings account, they refused to follow a course available to them to earn more money. This scenario is exactly what the State of Texas has chosen to do with its so-called Rainy Day Fund.
Texas’ constitution written by our forefathers provided that Texas should never engage in debt but should pay its bills as the needs arose. For years, until the approach of the current 21st Century, the Legislature managed to avoid imposing debt on the taxpayers of Texas and established basically a savings plan of surpluses available in the approaching ‘90's. The Legislature had a choice at that time of either putting surplus tax money into a savings account or reducing taxes. The Legislature chose the Rainy Day Fund over the option of saving money at the time for their constituents.
Like the family who deprived their children rather than spend from their savings account, Texas has denied millions of its children educational opportunity, health care services and many other essentials for Texas’ constituents. It appears the Legislature has been unwise in the use of the Rainy Day Fund by simply using it to avoid having to consider raising taxes. While eagerly preserving the Rainy Day Fund, our state leaders have managed to allow debts in numerous areas to continue unabated. One example of failure to attend to its children is the spectacular rising cost of a higher education in Texas.
For another example, no money until recently has been allocated for highways and roads even though our roads and bridges are seriously deteriorated throughout the state. It seems the Legislature would rather search for gimmicks rather than 'ponying up' and doing what is necessary to raise adequate funds for our highways. They have the ability to attend to the needs of the state as are currently necessary. However, the current estimate of what it would take to get us out of the mess created by attempting to provide adequate highways and roads in Texas through toll ways is that it has left us $30 billion in debt.
On the horizon there are other bad signs our state could be in further financial trouble. Our recent Attorney General and the current Attorney General seem to be hellbent on succeeding by suing the United States government. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the suits they have filed have been unsuccessful. There are currently three or four serious lawsuits pending against the State of Texas concerning education and the neglect of children, any one of which could bring about severe financial impacts. The question will be whether or not our leaders will simply use up the Rainy Day Fund and then attend to other needs of the State by paying as the needs arise.
Our forefathers had it right. We should pay as we go. And if our earnings or income is not adequate, our leaders should have the guts to stand up and say "we are going to cut services for you and your children rather than ask you to pony up a little more money to attend to these needs."
For years politicians have been running on the promise they will pay for the wonderful things by eliminating waste and corruption. After 32 years as a member of the legislative body, I’m here to attest there 'ain’t' that much waste and corruption to be found. Our legislative and state leaders need to simply suck it up and admit to the public what’s needed and attend to it.
Texans are not so stupid they can’t understand increasing the tax burden a little to provide for those things essential to future growth and a decent living for the citizens of Texas.