Follow up on Greg Abbott’s “economic” plan

It’s worth highlighting how naive. and possibly ignorant, Greg Abbott appears to be in the ways of the Texas Legislature. In his “economic” plan he is expecting that the Lege will cede a big chunk of it’s power the Governor. Something that damn sure won’t happen.

Here’s how constitutional amendments are passed in Texas:

To be adopted, constitutional amendments generally must clear a higher hurdle of support than ordinary statutory laws. Article XVII of the Texas Constitution requires a two-step process:

Proposal – to be proposed, an amendment must receive the support of two-thirds of all members elected to each chamber of the Legislature
Ratification – to be ratified, a proposed amendment must receive the support of a simple majority of citizens voting in a popular election, the date of which is specified by the Legislature.

But generally speaking, and partisanship aside, one branch of government is extremely unlikely to willingly transfer power to another branch of government.  That is the main part of Paul Burka’s criticism of Abbott’s plan.

As for his relationship with the Legislature, his desire for expanded line-item veto authority will create tension with the Lege. If Abbott continues on the course he has set, the 2015 session will bring a mammoth constitutional confrontation between the governor and the Legislature. The Legislature is not going to sit by and allow the governor to install himself as the czar of state government with control over the purse strings. Abbott has no experience in dealing with the Legislature, and he will find out soon enough that lawmakers have their own ideas about who is in charge of state fiscal policy, and they don’t think it’s the governor. [Emphasis added]

The Governor of Texas has no more power over the passage of constitutional amendments in Texas then any other Texan.  Which is why it’s odd that Abbott would allow so much of his plan hinge on them.  He wants to “Amend the Texas Constitution to grant the Governor line item reduction veto authority over the state budget”.  Which means once the budget is on the Governor’s desk, they would be able to “adjust” the figures down however they see fit.

Granting “reduction” line-item veto authority to the Texas Governor would give a fiscally responsible Governor a useful tool to reduce spending without eviscerating appropriations entirely. The “reduction” power is a flexible tool that could help constrain the growth of government.

It is important to note that the same legislative veto override authority would exist as under current law. Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution holds that “If, on reconsideration, one or more of such items be approved by two-thirds of the members present of each House, the same shall be part of the law, notwithstanding the objections of the Governor.” Therefore, the Legislature could override a reduction veto via a two-thirds vote.

But wouldn’t it give the same power to a fiscally irresponsible Governor? What a shabby right wing talking point. The worst part is where he talks about the Lege having the same veto override powers. First, when was the last time the Lege overrode a veto, (1979)? Second, the budget usually doesn’t get to the the Governor’s desk until the end of session. With the 20  days the Governor can hold onto a bill before signing it added in.  The Lege would already be gone by the time the vetoes happen. Meaning there would not be able to be overridden. A certainly the Lege is aware of that, (see Veto Override Sessions).  More on Texas Veto rules here.

Suffice it to say that part of his plan is dead in the water.

Further Reading:
Abbott will continue his assault on the Voting Right Act, Texas’ Attorney General Has A Devious Plan To Nuke What’s Left Of The Voting Rights Act.

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4 Responses

  1. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. Greg Abbott thinks the Lege will cede him more power. He’s either ignorant or naive about how the Lege in Texas actually works, Follow up on Greg Abbott’s “economic” plan. […]

  2. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. Greg Abbott thinks the Lege will cede him more power. He’s either ignorant or naive about how the Lege in Texas actually works, Follow up on Greg Abbott’s “economic” plan. […]

  3. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. Greg Abbott thinks the Lege will cede him more power. He’s either ignorant or naive about how the Lege in Texas actually works, Follow up on Greg Abbott’s “economic” plan. […]

  4. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. Greg Abbott thinks the Lege will cede him more power. He’s either ignorant or naive about how the Lege in Texas actually works, Follow up on Greg Abbott’s “economic” plan. […]

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