|Appraisal District Operations Comptroller's Report 42nd Institute on Property Tax and Registration Form Delinquent Penalty & Interest Penalty and Interest Rate Schedule - 2000/2001|
There is no budget deficit in Texas. Period.
In fact, the hardworking women and men of this great state have produced a budget surplus of $1 billion, $409 million. That very, very conservative estimate includes $1.1 billion in the bank today, and another $300 million-plus will be in the bank by August 31.
Because the Texas Legislature meets only once every two years, lawmakers must project what bills will come in over a long period of time. Every session of the Legislature, these budgetary adjustments are made. In fact, lawmakers have made nine such budget adjustments during the last six sessions.
This is very much like any family budget only on a much larger scale. One month I may spend more on my electric bill, and the next month I may spend money traveling to see my baby granddaughters, and every month I adjust.
When the next session begins in January, lawmakers will make an adjustment of about $610 million. This money will pay for unexpected increases for such things as pharmaceutical costs for medicine for the poor, keeping criminals in jail and preventing forest fires in drought stricken areas all things I believe Texans want and need.
If lawmakers had to come to Austin today, and they do not, there would be more than enough money to pay all the bills and we would have millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars left in the bank.
Where did this money come from? Well, a lot of places. This year alone, sales taxes are up $655 million more than expected, motor vehicle sales taxes up $204 million more than expected, oil and gas severance taxes contributed another $226 million to the surplus and other revenue sources kicked in another $324 million.
And this surplus does not even count $48 million that will automatically go into the states Rainy Day fund or $24 million left in the states account after the Legislature met last year.
Every objective look at Texas shows that our economy is strong. Personal income in Texas is $8 billion higher than our original forecast, and the gross state product is $25 billion higher for fiscal year 2000.
Texans need to know that the budget is sound and Wall Street needs to know that all is well and only getting better. High bond ratings mean lower interest rates for the short-term notes that we sell every year at this time. That means we can save millions of dollars for Texans.
I am independently elected by the people of Texas with a constitutional responsibility to tell legislators and all Texans the truth about their state budget. There is no budget deficit in Texas. There is a surplus. Period.
CAROLE KEETON RYLANDER
Comptroller of Public Accounts