The best legislature money will not buy

The Texas House voted unanimously to cut their spending by 10%. The Senate decided earlier that week to continue a 5% reduction that was implemented in July. These moves were widely praised by some. Let me be one of the few to express doubts. Tea party members might want to wonder why the lobbyists in the gallery were also cheering this vote.

Who will help legislators make decisions on important issues? Before we flatter ourselves by suggesting that it will be citizens like us, we need ask how much citizens really know about issues facing the legislature. You might have general opinions about what you want from government. That doesn’t mean you have any idea what current law is and how proposed legislation will actually impact that.

Lobbyists do. And, there are lots of them just sitting and waiting to give legislators advice.

Legislators could also get information on policy changes from state agencies. There are a lot of bureaucrats in Austin.

So, your legislator can either listen to legislative staff, lobbyists, or bureaucrats. When you cut staff you necessitate increased reliance on the other. One member of the House conceded in a private that cutting staff would help the lobby.

I don’t regard bureaucrats or lobbyists are inherently evil. I am sure that they are inherently biased.

So, the Texas House just bought itself more ignorance in order to take a symbolic stand. What business would cut R&D (research and development) as it moved into its decisions on how to invest billions of dollars? Texans are going to end up paying lots of money down the road for bad advice that will be taken over these 140 days.

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.


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