Conroe, February 17 – The massive spending increases of the Montgomery County government during the past eight years have defied the strongly-expressed views of Republican voters in a 2010 countywide referendum and a 2012 statewide referendum. County Judge Craig Doyal and the Commissioners Court have presided over those increases. Doyal has made clear that he intends to continue the massive increases in County expenditures despite growing protests from County citizens in the Commissioners Court and elsewhere.
On March 2, 2010, Republican Primary Election voters went to the polls in Montgomery County and voted on a nonbinding referendum:
“Ballot Proposition #2: Controlling Government Growth
“Every government body in Texas should be required to limit any annual increase in its budget and spending to the combined increase of population and inflation unless it first gets voter approval to exceed the allowed annual growth or in the case of an official emergency.”
Ballot Proposition #2 passed with 94% of the voters approving the referendum. Two years later, on March 6, 2012, Texas held its primary election. In the Republican Primary, voters passed a statewide referendum identical to Montgomery County’s Ballot Proposition #2, also with 94% of the voters voting “for” the proposition.
The Golden Hammer has examined the data regarding Montgomery County government expansion and discovered that the Commissioners Court has violated the will of Republican voters ever since the March, 2010, referendum. The numbers and analysis follow.
In order to ascertain inflation, the most commonly accepted source is the United States Consumer Price Index, or CPI, which the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics promulgates monthly and annually. In order to ascertain population growth (“Pop Growth”), the United States Bureau of the Census publishes annual numbers for the population of Montgomery County. The Government Growth Delta (“GGD”) is the CPI plus the Pop Growth:
CPI + Pop Growth = GGD.
GGD should reflect the maximum growth of the Montgomery County government.
Here are the numbers:
|Year||CPI (%)||Pop Growth (%)||GGD (%)||Population||Spending|
|Actual Spending Increase (%)||What Spending|
Should Be ($ millions)*
*The “What Spending Should Be” column only represents what the spending should have been under the maximum growth formula acceptable to Republican voters. In other words, if a County government were to increase its spending by the maximum amount allowable under the Republican Proposition #2, the maximum County Budget would have been that amount.
The table reveals that during the last seven fiscal years, from 2011 to 2017, Montgomery County government spending has increased $54 million more than the maximum growth that Republican voters voted to tolerate under the principles of Proposition #2. Furthermore, during only one year, Fiscal Year 2012, did the Commissioners Court keep the spending increase below the Proposition #2 Government Growth Delta. For Fiscal Year 2016, County Judge Craig Doyal and the County Commissioners grew spending at more than double the maximum acceptable rate.
Under Republican voters’ clearly-defined principles, the County Budget should only be $327,015,000 million for Fiscal Year 2017. Instead, Doyal and the Commissioners have approved a $381 million budget for Fiscal Year 2017.
The County Commissioners Court has shown no discretion or fiscal restraint whatsoever with one minor exception, because they have grown spending as much as possible every year except last year when, after considerable citizen protest, the Commissioners Court enacted a 1 cent tax rate cut, which still constituted a tax increase, because the cut was far less than the increase in property appraisals across this community.
The $54 million in overspending under Republican principles is remarkably close to the $60 million net budget cut towards which the Citizens Budget Committee (CBC) is diligently working. The General Administration Subcommittee of the CBC has already identified more than $30 million of budget cuts that the Commissioners Court could enact without reducing any services. No veterans services or law enforcement departments are w