Op-Ed: Vote YES on Proposition 6

October 18, 2013

Texas is now in its third year of drought, and the state’s climatologist recently warned this drought could be worse than the worst drought in the history of Texas. Before the fall rains began, 98 percent of the state was in a drought and 25 percent were experiencing extreme drought. Making matters worse, experts estimate Texas’ population will increase 82 percent by 2060 to 46.3 million people.

The current drought and booming population point to an unavoidable conclusion: failing to secure additional water supplies will stifle investment and limit future economic growth. Proposition 6 is critically important to Texas businesses, farmers, and residents. As a strong conservative, I respect the skeptical and suspicious eye you cast on government action, but there are several reasons why you should vote for Proposition 6.

First, it has historically been within the proper scope of government to develop basic infrastructure, such as roads, airports, train tracks, sewers, and reservoirs. This has been the case going back to the founding of our state and nation.

Second, the $2 billion appropriation from the Rainy Day Fund triggered by passage of Proposition 6 will leverage to $30 billion over the next 40 years. Making a one-time expenditure that will grow 15 times is sound policy and good fiscal management.

Third, Proposition 6 leaves a healthy balance in the Rainy Day Fund, in case of an unexpected economic downturn, hurricane, or other money-costing emergency. According to Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, the Rainy Day Fund balance is expected to be $8.1 billion in August 2013, $9.83 billion in August 2014 and $11.76 billion in August 2015.

Fourth, Proposition 6 doesn’t raise taxes or add to our debt.

Lastly, the money appropriated will be loaned to local water authorities to build projects included in the state water plan. Once the local authorities complete the projects and begin selling the water developed by their construction, they will start to repay the loan. Repayment will continue until the loan is fully repaid. Proposition 6 does not establish a grant program or a slush fund for local governments.