AUSTIN (AP) – Comptroller Susan Combs says the state will have an additional $300 million to spend in the next budget.

In a letter to lawmakers Monday, Combs said that because of improved sales taxes returns, 2011 collections “will exceed my current estimate.”

The new estimate might help alleviate some of the pain from budget cuts, but not by much.

The total revenue estimate for the next two years, now $72.5 billion, is still more than $14 billion short of the amount needed to maintain state services at their current level without accounting for population growth and cost increases.

The announcement comes as lawmakers are debating whether to tap the Rainy Day Fund to help fill a projected $4.3 billion deficit in the current budget.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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