Abbott-O-Meter

Require two-thirds' vote of Texas House and Senate to override constitutional spending limit

Gov. Greg Abbott wants lawmakers to send voters a proposed constitutional amendment to toughen the existing ability of lawmakers to override the spending limit by majority votes of the House and Senate.


Updates

Abbott desire to make it harder to dodge spending cap shows little momentum

Stumping for governor, Greg Abbott said it should take two-thirds' votes of the Texas House and Senate for lawmakers to spend more than they're permitted to budget under a constitutional spending cap.

Under existing law, members may break the cap by majority votes.

As of May 2015, however, proposals to impose the two-thirds' margins had been offered in the Senate and House without clearing either body.

Senate Joint Resolution 2, a proposed constitutional amendment by Kelly Hancock, R-Richland Hills, cleared a Senate panel. However, Hancock announced he lacked the votes to get it through the full Senate; it takes two-thirds votes of the Senate and House to put proposed constitutional amendments before voters.

Meantime, the House version of the proposed constitutional tweak, House Joint Resolution 121, hadn't been scheduled for a hearing.

We rate this an Abbott Promise STALLED.

Sources:

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

Legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 2 and its fiscal note, 2015 Legislature, Texas Legislative Council website (accessed April 29, 2015)

News story, "Short on Votes to Tighten Spending Cap, Senate Built a New One," Texas Tribune, April 13, 2015