AUSTIN – Today, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released the report Biennial Revenue Estimate 2016-17 that provides the 84th Texas Legislature with an estimate of revenue likely available to appropriate for the next two-year budget. Given the state’s constitution requires a balanced budget, this report sets the stage for how much legislators have available for spending and tax cuts in the 2015 Legislative Session that starts tomorrow.
The report shows that there will likely be $113 billion in general revenue-related funds available. This amount is calculated from a $7.5 billion surplus at the end of the current 2014-15 fiscal period plus general revenue-related funds of $110.4 billion during the 2016-17 budget period less $5 billion in transfers to the state’s Rainy Day Fund and State Highway Fund. The estimated amount of total funds available, including state and federal funds, is $220.9 billion.
The Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy Director Talmadge Heflin issued the following statement:
“With another surplus expected during the current budget period, Texans are clearly taxed too much,” said Heflin. “Despite economic concerns over the steep drop in oil prices, today’s revenue estimate for the upcoming two-year budget period shows that there will be sufficient revenue available from continued economic growth to cover core government functions and provide substantial tax relief.
“The Texas Public Policy Foundation and 13 other organizations have called for the Texas Legislature to pass a conservative Texas budget. This conservative budget would limit the total budget to no more than $217.1 billion providing legislators with room for tax relief. To sustain the nation’s economic and job creation engine that has provided opportunities for Texans to prosper, legislators should work to eliminate the margin tax as they limit the growth of the state’s budget.”
The Honorable Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. In the 78th Session, Heflin served as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and navigated a $10 billion state budget shortfall through targeted spending cuts that allowed Texans to avoid a tax increase.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.