AUSTIN – The Texas Legislature has about $131 billion to spend during the next legislative session, the Texas Legislative Budget Board determined on Wednesday. That’s an increase of about $12.5 billion more than what lawmakers had last term, state officials said.
“I want all Members to understand this great opportunity they have in the House and Senate to shape the future of Texas because, first, we must leave a strong reserve,” said Lt. gov. Dan Patrick during a press conference following the session.
The LBB consists of 10 members of the House and Senate, including Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan. It develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations, conducts budget analysis for proposed legislation, and conducts assessments and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations on its website. It’s also responsible for approving the estimated growth rates that lawmakers will use when forecasting how much to spend during the legislature.
For the 2023-25 biennium, the Board approved the submitted estimated growth rate of the Texas economy of 12.3% over the biennium, or about 6.17% per year. Estimated personal income growth rate and estimated population times inflation or P&I rate were also assumed to be 12.3% over the biennium.
LBB executive director Jerry McGinty said the board calculates Texas’ two-year fiscal 2022-23 spending, which is funded with nonconstitutional state tax revenues, at $101.58 billion, and that consolidated general revenues are estimated at US$121 billion.
For fiscal year 2024-25, the estimated amount of funds that can be provided from non-constitutional state tax revenues is $114.2 billion and consolidated revenues are $135.9 billion -Dollar.
McGinty added that the dollar numbers projected during the hearing could change due to additional funding as well as updated Comptroller earnings figures, which could result in changes in spending levels and funding methods.
While Texas is forecast to have a surplus of about $27 billion at the end of the current fiscal year, bringing the estimated total budget to about $149 billion, Patrick is forcing the state to use excess funding for a more stable financial future.
“We’re not spending all the money,” Patrick said. “In addition to the bad weather fund, we need to have a healthy reserve in our checking account.”
The 88th Texas Legislative Session begins Jan. 10.