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Tue January 7, 2014
Business Groups Speak Out Against Tea Party Legislators Who Opposed Funding Bills
Some of Texas’ biggest trade and business associations are looking to counter anti-big government groups like the tea party that have crowded recent Republican primaries -- the group’s effort is in response to actions taken in the past legislative session against state infrastructure bills.
The Texas Future Business Alliance is made up of ten business groups that are supporting Republican candidates who have supported water infrastructure bills and transportation and education funding in the past.
"Unfortunately some who are opposed to funding have accused very solid conservative members of in fact not being conservative," said Bill Hammond, the president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business. "Nothing could be further from the truth. And the idea that some of them are for funding brought them under attack is wrong and inappropriate."
Hammond is referring to a number of lawmakers in the Texas Legislature who identify themselves as tea-party Republicans and opposed taking money from the Rainy Day Fund to help pay for urgent state needs like water and roads.
Tea-party Republicans like state Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, who spoke following passage of the legislature's budget bill at the conclusion of the last legislative session.
"We have the two largest budgets in the history of the State of Texas for the last budget and this budget," Taylor said. "I’m disappointed in Republicans leading the charge for trying to break into the Rainy Day Fund."
But Hammond said state spending only grew by about 3 percent over the last two years.
"Spending is very low, but some have tried to give the appearance that Texas spending is out of control and it’s simply not," he said. "Some believe the budget grew by 25 percent biennium to biennium where in fact the real numbers are around 3 percent. People put out these numbers and you have the people of Texas believing that the state is spending too much money, which simply is not true."
Hammond said not adequately funding infrastructure will quickly lead to the state becoming less competitive for attracting business.