Gov. Rick Perry, Speaker Joe Straus and Comptroller Susan Combs today announced the decision to close out the Fiscal Year 2011 budget gap by implementing $800 million in cuts, using $300 million from increased sales tax collections over the last few months, and using a one-time draw not to exceed $3.2 billion from the state's Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund.
"We have worked closely with state leaders and lawmakers to balance the current budget, which includes using a one-time amount from the Economic Stabilization Fund to help our budget deal with the impact of the national recession," Gov. Perry said. "As we craft the next two-year budget, Texas leaders will continue to focus on a more efficient, fiscally responsible government, essential state services, and private sector job creation. I remain steadfastly committed to protecting the remaining balance of the Rainy Day Fund, and will not sign a 2012-2013 state budget that uses the Rainy Day Fund."
"For more than a year, leaders in the Texas House and I have been working with Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst to cut state spending by nearly $1.7 billion as our revenue fell during the national recession," Speaker Straus said. "Now that most agencies have made substantial cuts from their current budgets, using part of the Rainy Day Fund to pay for the rest of our bills - even as we continue to look for more savings - is the conservative and fiscally responsible way to meet our constitutional duty to balance the budget. The Rainy Day Fund was created to help manage just such unexpected declines in state revenue. We will do so while preserving more than $6 billion in the fund to cover unexpected emergencies in the future."
"I look forward to working with the members, Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst to preserve the remainder of the Rainy Day Fund," Speaker Straus said.
"I commend legislative leadership and lawmakers for their work to close the current year budget gap and do what is right for Texans," said Comptroller Combs. "Sales tax revenue has done well in recent months because of increased business and consumer activity, which will help close the 2011 deficit. And as I mentioned in recent testimony, it is also important to keep the state's future budget needs in mind in our decision making of today."
By resolving this biennium's shortfall, Texas leaders can now focus their future efforts on completing the 2012-2013 biennial budget without raising taxes.