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W. Gardner Selby
By W. Gardner Selby April 27, 2015

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.

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