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January/February 2011 — Web Exclusive

A Letter from the Comptroller

Photo of Susan Combs

Across Texas

  • The city of Corpus Christi recently obtained a $1.9 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board to increase the capacity of its 56-year-old O.N. Stevens Water Treatment Plant.
  • The Clear Lake Regional Medical Center announced a $92 million expansion and renovation project with an expected completion date of summer 2013. The project will include a new 154,000-square-foot building for operating and intensive care facilities.

These cost-conscious times bring new challenges for all state agencies. At the Comptroller’s office, our goal is to provide the highest level of service to our citizens without increasing spending.

To help meet this goal, we’re examining our printing costs and moving forward with plans to provide more content, including issues of Fiscal Notes, exclusively online. Subscribe to our Fiscal Notes e-mail update list.

The expression “save for a rainy day” has been around for a long, long time, dating back to when most people’s livings involved agriculture — and the weather. Rain meant no work in the fields, so hired hands knew it was always best to have a little cash stashed away, just in case.

There’s plenty of wisdom in old sayings that have their roots in farms and ranches. And we should thank our lucky stars that Texas voters established our own rainy day fund, as the Economic Stabilization Fund came to be known, in 1988.

Other down-home sayings offer sound economic advice. Like the expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, our state’s economy largely centered on oil and gas production. But as boom cycles went bust, we learned the value of diversification. In recent years, our finance, technology and health care sectors have grown substantially, giving us an economy more diverse than those of New York, Florida, California and Illinois. That serves us well, indeed.

Then there’s the truism that “you reap what you sow.” We have continually cultivated a pro-business environment in Texas and — because we like business — business likes us. So when an executive decides to expand an operation or relocate a company within our borders, we reap new jobs and greater opportunities for Texans.

We’re Back!

Fiscal Notes took a brief hiatus this fall as we prepared and published our agency’s groundbreaking report Connecting the Dots: School Spending and Student Progress. The report identifies Texas school districts that achieve strong student performance while keeping spending growth to a minimum. Check out the full report on our companion website,, which provides a unique analysis of public education spending and academic results.

In this issue of Fiscal Notes , we take a timely look at Texas’ rainy day fund and reflect upon how fortunate we are that Texans and their elected officials recognized the importance of setting aside money in good times. In a time when consensus is often difficult to find, I think that’s something we can all agree on.

Finally, I’d like to tell you about major changes coming for Fiscal Notes . Given the tight financial times facing state government today, we’ve decided to make the leap to online-only publication. We’ll be able to save on printing and mailing costs while still providing you with the thoughtful and objective writing you’ve come to expect. I hope you’ll take the time to subscribe to our Fiscal Notes mailing list. We’ll send you e-mail updates whenever a new issue hits the Web. See you there!

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