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HB 4 and State Water Projects

April 2, 2013

Last week we passed House Bill 4, which will create the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas. SWIFT is a revolving fund which will help guarantee water projects across our state receive ample funding at low interest rates. According to the author of the bill, the fund will help Texas meet its water needs over the next fifty years.

I voted for House Bill 4 but I did so with some reluctance. The reluctance was not with the form of the bill or its purpose. I agree that water projects are an important state priority and I agree that the revolving fund created by House Bill 4 will help us accomplish our goals.  My concern is with how SWIFT will be funded and how this funding relates to the budget proposed in House Bill 4.

Leadership in the House is currently planning to fund SWIFT through House Bill 11, a bill which would tap $2 Billion of our Rainy Day Fund. On the campaign trail I was very clear that I would oppose any raid on our Rainy Day Fund. With Washington recklessly spending and regulating, it is more important than ever for Texas to have reserves in order to pay off our obligations if there is another economic downturn. Furthermore, tapping into the Rainy Day Fund to fund SWIFT would require us to break our constitutional spending cap. We should instead prioritize our spending and find the funding for needed water projects within the confines of our constitutional spending cap and within the confines of general revenue.