(AUSTIN, Texas)–January 7, 2013–The Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following statement in response to today’s release of the biennial revenue estimate by the state comptroller.
“Today Texas lawmakers heard they will have $101.4 billion in General Revenue to work with when writing the 2014-15 state budget. However, $5 billion is needed for the Medicaid IOU, leaving $96.4 billion to barely continue the current barebones budget and leave in place the devastating 2011 cuts to education, health care, and other areas of critical need. In addition, the state’s Rainy Day Fund will have $11.8 billion available to support state services and investments by the end of 2014-15.
“With available revenue and the historically high Rainy Day Fund balance, which together total $108.2 billion, Texas lawmakers have the opportunity to return to the level of services provided five years ago—-before the financial crisis slashed state revenue. If we are willing to use the Rainy Day Fund, we could fund the rapid population growth and inflation while also undoing the devastating 2011 cuts that have left so many Texas families struggling.
“Today’s revenue estimate announcement officially begins this session’s budget writing process. Now, it’s up to state lawmakers to create a budget that reflects our state’s needs and priorities.
“Legislators should use the money available now to invest in the education and health care systems that will help ensure our state’s future prosperity.
— CPPP —
The Center for Public Policy Priorities is a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy institute committed to improving public policies to make a better Texas. You can learn more at CPPP.org