Monday, January 21, 2013

Texas budget improves: How will GOP prioritize it?

From the Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature will have $101.4 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget, along with an extra $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday morning.

Combs’ official biennial revenue estimate sets the limit of the state’s general fund, the portion of the budget that lawmakers have the most control over. The general fund typically makes up nearly half of the state’s total budget.

Combs predicted that the state will collect $96.2 billion in revenue from taxes, fees and other income during the 2014-15 biennium. The fund already had $8.8 billion left over from the current biennium. Of the new revenue, $3.6 billion will be transferred to the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which Combs predicted will grow to $11.8 billion.

Factoring in federal funds and other revenue sources, the total available revenue for the next budget is $208.2 billion.

Monday’s news sets a different tone for the legislative session that begins tomorrow compared with the previous one, in which lawmakers faced a multibillion-dollar shortfall and a protracted budget battle over how to spread the pain.

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