For Budget Writers, Tax Cuts Are Spending Decisions

To think like a budget writer in the Texas Legislature, you need to treat tax cuts as spending decisions.

A budget starts with a stack of money and the question of how to use it. A tax cut goes on the same list as an increase in spending on state police, mental hospitals, public schools — or anything else interested parties seek.

This is familiar ground for the contestants. Some legislators get elected talking about what they would spend on programs and services like education, health care, highways or water. Some get elected talking about smaller government — about curbing taxes and ...

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