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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
March 7, 2011

Combs Urges Lawmakers to Close Current Budget Gap

(AUSTIN) — State Comptroller Susan Combs today reminded lawmakers about the importance of taking steps to address the $4.3 billion deficit for the current biennium.

“I urge lawmakers to do what is appropriate and close the deficit for the current biennium while they are in session,” Combs said. “It is vital that they address the state’s projected shortfall for the current biennium. We will of course continue to provide data to the Legislature as they make their decisions.”

In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee last week, Combs outlined options lawmakers could take to address the current year shortfall. Those include spending cuts to agencies, delaying spending or appropriating money from the Rainy Day Fund or some combination of these options.

While the Texas Constitution permits the Comptroller to borrow money from the Rainy Day Fund within a biennium in the case of a deficit for that biennium, it also has a specific repayment provision. During odd-numbered years, the money must be repaid by Aug. 31 of that year. There is no practical way for the Comptroller to borrow from the Rainy Day Fund this summer and pay it back as the Constitution requires by Aug. 31, 2011. There will not be sufficient revenue streams within that extremely short time period to make this a realistic option.

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