Texas, Welfare Queen

Says Kevin D. Williamson at NRO’s Corner:

Texas has no income tax, a part-time legislature, an enviable economic record — and Senate Republicans there have just introduced a budget that limits the level of spending to the state’s expected revenue. That’s the real killer for liberals: In Texas, revenue determines spending, not the other way around. And liberals hate it.

By pure serendipity, I caught a liberal complaining about Texas just a few items later in my newsfeed:

Texas was the state that depended the most on… stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched.

“Stimulus was very helpful in getting them through the last few years,” said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers, said of Texas.

It’s a good example of how politics isn’t about policy. It’s about signaling. Texas is a member of the conservative club, regardless of what it does. Even if it mooches shamelessly off the rest of us.

Update: Williamson replies, missing my point. I hadn’t intended to say anything particularly derogatory about Texas myself. I’d only intended to note that what liberals dislike about Texas has no discernible relationship to what Kevin Williamson apparently thinks liberals dislike about Texas. This I’ve already done, and it would be tedious to repeat myself.

Do I think Texas is a “welfare queen”? Well, it could have paid its own way through hard times with money to spare. It declined and took taxpayers’ money instead. I’ll let you decide.

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