Politicians in Washington may be talking about compromising on the federal budget, but in Texas, Republicans are taking an early, hardline stance on state spending.
The Texas Legislative Budget Board set a $77.9 billion cap on state spending Thursday for the 2014-15 budget year, a 10 percent increase above the current discretionary spending limit.
Texas lawmakers are meeting Wednesday to take another look at the state’s finances ahead of what could be another budget-cutting legislative session that starts in January.
The Texas Association of Business believes that, if the state raises registration fees by $50 per vehicle, and dedicates that money to road projects, it would create an additional $16 billion.
The Texas Comptroller’s office is giving budget leaders a rundown of the state’s financial picture, just months before what will likely be another lean legislative session.
The Texas comptroller’s office said that it now expects the state to collect at least $5 billion in unanticipated revenue during the present two-year budget cycle.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has called for an end to an accounting practice that masks how taxes and fees are really spent.
State agencies were told to shave costs by another 10 percent, despite growing tax revenues that have raised hopes of restoring freshly slashed services and jobs across Texas.
Texas lawmakers on Monday will get a briefing on the current status of Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
Governor Rick Perry is delivering an economic speech he promises will detail key Texas budget principles for next year and beyond.
Texas lawmakers are planning to hear testimony about the state’s debt burden and problems with the crime victim’s fund.
Lawmakers will most likely have to tap the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget in 2013, state comptroller Susan Combs said in an interview.