FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/13/2015
Murr Reaffirms Commitment to Budget Transparency with New Legislation
This week, State Representative Andrew Murr reaffirmed his commitment to budget transparency by joint-authoring a bill that will help end the use of accounting gimmicks to balance the state budget. House Bill 7 will clarify the appropriate uses for general revenue dedicated accounts, and it also opens up the possibility of reducing, or entirely eliminating, certain fees. On Thursday, Murr said this is important legislation aimed at reversing a disturbing trend.
"For far too long, the Texas Legislature has been playing a shell game with the budgeting process; using dedicated funds to certify the budget," Murr said. "These Washington-style accounting tricks have no place in Texas, and HB 7 is an important step towards budget transparency and ensuring that fees that are paid by taxpayers are used appropriately."
House Bill 7 will reduce the dependence of the legislature on using surplus account balances to certify, or “balance” the budget. It also lays the groundwork for future legislatures to lower or eliminate additional fees, as the bill requires that fees be suspended or cut entirely when they exceed the amount needed for appropriations.
Murr explained, "We shouldn't be collecting more from taxpayers than is absolutely necessary to operate state government. Fees should be collected and used for their dedicated purpose, and once that purpose is met or no longer needed, we should stop continuing to collect them. HB 7 will help shine light on the budgeting process and work to end the reliance upon unallocated dedicated funds to balance our state budget.”