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State budget outlook robust

Legislative leaders are breathing a sigh of relief as numbers recently released by the state comptroller indicate the Texas economy continues to improve, outpacing the rest of the country.

The anticipated economic upswing allowed lawmakers last year to adopt a budget through August of 2015 that restores most of the funds cut from public education in 2012-13 and repeals several accounting maneuvers, including acceleration of some tax collections and a deferral of state funding to local schools.  The spending package also cuts $1.4 billion in taxes and fees and ends the diversion of some fees and taxes to purposes other than those originally intended.

With voters recently approving a $2 billion draw from the so-called Rainy Day Fund for a down payment on water infrastructure projects, and a measure up for a vote in the November general election for transportation projects, lawmakers have set a course for continued growth in basic services needed for the state’s surging population.

Even if voters approve the transportation investment this fall, the Rainy Day Fund is still projected to reach record levels by the time the Legislature reconvenes next January.

The outcome of this budget strategy undercuts claims by ultra-right wing conservative members of the Legislature that leaders should have pushed for still more cuts in basic services and further postpone infrastructure investments.

“In recent months there has been a great deal of misinformation about the budget, including the assertion that state spending grew by 26 percent,” said Dale Craymer, head of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association of which TAB is a member.

“To derive that figure, a massive amount of tortured math is used to create a figure designed to shock rather than inform. The truth is that Texas is now on solid financial footing and state spending is increasing less that the state’s overall economic growth.”

Craymer’s explanation of the state of the State’s budget is provided here.

Questions?  Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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