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HEALTH CARE

Comptroller provides health care spending checkup

A new report on health care spending is available from the Comptroller's office. Health Care Spending in the Texas State Budget includes information on spending in various programs and the methods used to finance it. Health care spending permeates the state budget--Texas will spend about $18.7 billion, or about 33 percent, of a $57 billion annual budget on health care in fiscal 2002.

A survey of state agencies captured some additional health care spending not identified in the General Appropriations Act. The report includes health care spending for Medicaid, state employees, prisoners, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, state employees filing workers' compensation claims and other health care costs buried in the state budget.

The study examines the state's direct costs of purchasing health care services and how they have changed over time.

The report is available at www.window.state.tx.us/taxbud/healthcare/ or by calling 1-800-531-5441, extension 3-4900 (463-4900 in Austin).

REVENUES

Revenue collections match revenue projections

In September, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced that revenue collections are keeping pace with revenue projections for the first half of the 2002-03 budget cycle.

"We closed the books on fiscal 2002 on August 31, and I want hard-working Texas taxpayers to know we have a balanced budget for 2002-03 and we have nearly $1 billion in the Rainy Day Fund to boot!

"We have, perhaps, the most precise revenue estimate in history, collecting $32.9 million more than projected from a total of all state funds of $54 billion for the 2002 fiscal year. I will transfer an additional $80 million from the natural gas severance tax to our state's Rainy Day Fund, bringing the total in that fund to $987 million. With interest, it will break $1 billion by the close of the 2002-03 biennium," Rylander says.

REVENUES

Rylander distributes $299 million to local governments

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander delivered $299 million in monthly sales tax payments to local governments in October.

Rylander sent sales tax rebates of $201.7 million to Texas cities and $17.7 million to Texas counties. Seventy-four special purpose taxing districts received $8.1 million and Texas' six metropolitan transit authorities and two city transit departments received $71.3 million in sales tax revenue.

October sales tax rebates include local sales taxes collected in August and reported to the Comptroller in September. The state's share of sales tax reported during this period was $1.1 billion.

For details of October sales tax payments to individual cities, counties, transit departments and special purpose districts, visit the Monthly Sales and Use Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports on the Comptroller's Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html.

ECONOMY

Comptroller predicts Metroplex growth

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander predicted that the gross regional product will increase by about 2.9 percent per year in the Metroplex Region. Job growth will average about 1.7 percent per year--adding about 97,300 new jobs each year from 2002-2005.

"I am here to tell the good people of the Metroplex Region what lies ahead for the local economy but, most importantly, I am here to listen to what they believe are the region's economic strengths, challenges, opportunities and obstacles," Rylander says.

The economic forecast for the Metroplex Region included Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties.