Combs Says There Are Three Options Concerning the Budget

The state's chief financial officer says it's virtually impossible for Texas to solve its budget shortfall with cuts to services alone. Comptroller Susan Combs is suggesting lawmakers get serious about tapping into the state's rainy day fund. David Pitman has more.

By the time the current budget cycle wraps up in August, Texas will be more than $4 billion dollars short.  That's separate from the $27 billion projected shortfall for the next two-year budget.

In remarks to the House Appropriations Committee, Controller Combs said even after every state agency made across-the-board cuts, Texas is still $3 billion in the red for this year. 

Combs said there are three options on the table — making more cuts, putting off paying the bills, or using part of the state's $9 billion rainy day fund.

She said finding another $4 billion to cut by August can't be done.  And if the state deferred payments, it would only save $2 billion.

Combs was invited to speak to the committee by House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts.  The Republican from Waxahachie has filed a bill that would take almost half of the rainy day fund to close the current gap.  After Combs spoke, Pitts said he felt confident he could muster the votes needed to send the measure to the full house.  A committee vote could come next week.

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...