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Comptroller News

TOBACCO SETTLEMENT

Tobacco settlement funds distributed

The Comptroller's office announced in July that the agency distributed $72.1 million to three cities, 158 counties and 131 hospital districts from the Tobacco Settlement Permanent Trust Account. The distribution, required by law, represented a 43 percent increase over the 2005 distribution.

The $2.2 billion trust fund, which was built up from payments under the state's tobacco settlement, provides annual distributions to local governments and hospital districts to help offset the cost of indigent health care provided during the previous year. The recipients of the 2006 distribution received the tobacco settlement funds based upon their unreimbursed indigent health care costs during 2005.

Since the first distribution of funds from the Tobacco Settlement Permanent Trust Account in April 2001, local entities have received nearly $205 million from the fund.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Sheriffs' and constables' fees due October 15

The Comptroller's office is working on automating the submission of sheriff and constable fee information for its annual publication, the Sheriffs' and Constables' Fees Manual.

Each August, the Comptoller's Local Government Assistance (LGA) section mails a letter to every country clerk and county judge in the state requesting fee information.

Section 118.131(f) of the Local Government Code requires county commissioners courts to set the fees by October 1 and to submit the information to the Comptroller's office by October 15. LGA staff the compiles and publishes a consolidated report by December 15.

Once the automation is in place, counties will have the option of submitting the annual updates online.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

El Paso to be reviewed

The Texas Comptroller's Local Government Assistance (LGA) section will conduct a Local Government Management Review (LGMR) of the El Paso City/County Health District at the request of local governing officials. LGA staff expects to complete the review by December 2006.

The Comptroller's office conducts LGMRs as a service to cities and counties at no expense to local taxpayers. The review is an on-site review of local government managerial operations conducted by a team of Comptroller analysts. LGMRs determine the extent to which local government operations comply with state law and adhere to principles of sound accounting and internal controls. They also identify opportunities to maximize the government's efficiency and effectiveness, and in some cases recommend improvements.


SALES TAX

Sales tax revenues continue to rise

Texas received $1.54 billion in sales tax revenue in May, up 5.8 percent compared with May 2005. Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn sent $398.3 million in June sales tax allocations to cities, counties, transit systems and special-purpose taxing districts, up 15.5 percent compared with June 2005.

"State and local governments continue to benefit from economic growth, strong business activity and consumer optimism here in Texas," Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn sent $270.2 million to Texas cities, $24 million to Texas counties, $11.8 million to 110 special-purpose taxing districts and $92.3 million to 10 local transit systems.