Abbott-O-Meter

Give the governor power to reduce, but not eliminate, individual spending items in state budget

"Granting 'reduction' line-item veto authority to the Texas governor would give a fiscally responsible governor a useful tool to reduce spending without eviscerating appropriations entirely." Abbott said this change would require lawmakers to send voters a proposed constitutional amendment.


Updates

Abbott spending-reduction idea not showing momentum

The Texas Constitution gives governors the power to eliminate individual line-items in spending measures that lawmakers send his or her way.

Greg Abbott signaled during his 2014 campaign that he favored an additional power--to shrink spending amounts without wiping out expenditures entirely. "Granting 'reduction' line-item veto authority to the Texas governor would give a fiscally responsible governor a useful tool to reduce spending without eviscerating appropriations entirely," Abbott said in his Bicentennial Blueprint compiling campaign promises.

Abbott's proposal would require lawmakers to send voters a proposed constitutional amendment that would take effect if voters sign off.

Such a proposal was filed during the 2015 legislative session. But it didn't appear to be getting traction as of late April 2015. The 140-day session was set to end June 1, 2015.

With help from the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, we identified House Joint Resolution 103, sponsored by Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, as reflective of Abbott's promise. Metcalf's proposal was referred to the House Appropriations Committee on March 23, 2015, but hadn't been scheduled for a hearing as of April 27, 2015; it also had no Senate compansion. By phone, we asked Metcalf's office if there were other signs of movement and didn't draw a comment.

Given the lack of action, we're rating this an Abbott Promise Stalled.

Sources:

Document, "Bicentennial Blueprint, Greg Abbott's Working Texans Plan," Oct. 28, 2013

Texas constitutional provision for line-item appropriations vetoes, Section 14, Article 4, "Executive Department," Texas Constitution, Texas Legislative Council (accessed April 27, 2015)

Email, Oliver Bernstein, communications director, Center for Public Policy Priorities, April 13, 2015