AUSTIN (January 7, 2013)—Texas Comptroller Susan Combs estimated Monday that the state will generate $92.6 billion in general revenue in 2014-2015, a major jump in tax collection from the last two-year budget cycle.
Combs released the estimate Monday, the day before the 83rd Texas Legislature convenes and also reported $8.8 billion in surplus revenue.
“While the Texas economy is doing well, we must be mindful of factors that cast a shadow over our economy,” Combs said.
“The economic and financial troubles dogging Europe drag on and the powerful Chinese economy has slowed. Meanwhile, the federal government remains gridlocked across a number of issues. Economic and regulatory uncertainty, including the possibility of increased taxation, can delay purchasing decisions by businesses and households,” she said.
More than $3.6 billion will automatically go into the Rainy Day Fund, so the Legislature has immediate control over how $89 billion can be spent, but that doesn't mean lawmakers will spend all of it.
Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have promised to limit any increase in state spending to a sum of population growth plus inflation, or 9.85 percent.
Under current conditions, their plan would create a general revenue budget of $89.29 billion.
Combs' estimate in January 2011 was $72.2 billion in general-purpose spending available.
The state still has bills to settle before writing the next budget. Among the obligations are a $4.7 billion Medicaid tab and about $600 million spent battling wildfires in 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Monday in which he said the report validated budget decisions made during the last session.
“Today’s revenue estimate is more evidence that we made the right decisions two years ago by budgeting carefully to meet the challenges of the national recession,” he said.
“The Texas formula of low taxes, reasonable regulations, fair courts and a quality workforce is the best way to continue creating jobs and growing our economy. Even as we head into the 83rd Legislative Session with higher revenues, we still need to focus on separating our wants from our needs, and continue to follow the conservative fiscal principles that have led to Texas’ ongoing success and will keep Texas strong,” he said.