A state executive agency is a special interest-government hybrid. It’s a special interest in that its own interests compete for favorable legislation and appropriations against other special interests. At the same time, it’s government because the legislature created it, tells it what to do via statute and budget, and its staff are state employees. Lawmakers are obligated to fund agency activities to some level.
However, “Nobody in the Legislature wants to spend more than what must be spent, but what lawmakers really don’t want to do is cut the budget of something and then get blamed when something goes wrong.”1 Lawmakers defer to agency technical advice from its experts, who often hold advanced degrees in highly specialized topics. Few in the legislature have the technical expertise to contradict an executive agency. On the other hand, few lawmakers trust the agency as to budget matters. So, absent a crisis, appropriations stay fairly consistent adjusted to account for inflation.
Ross Ramsey, “Analysis: Cutting the Texas Budget, But Only Hypothetically,” Texas Tribune (July 13, 2016) https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/13/analysis-cutting-texas-budget-only-hypothetically/.”