Saturday, November 20, 2010

TX banks on 8.9% economic growth

Updated: Monday, 15 Nov 2010, 7:42 PM CST
Published : Monday, 15 Nov 2010, 7:38 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Texas Comptroller predicts the state’s economy will grow by 8.92% over the next two years. That rate will be key in mapping out the state’s upcoming budget.

On Monday, the Legislative Budget Board adopted the comptroller’s growth projection to determine the state’s spending limit. The LBB estimates the amount of money lawmakers have to spend from state tax revenue over the next two years will be $71,665,225,913.

At a legislative preview earlier in the day, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, spoke of “whispers” among lawmakers of an estimated $28 billion shortfall facing Texas. The guesses on this actual amount have grown from $11 billion to this newly announced number. Those amounts are only speculation.

The comptroller will not have the actual amount until the day before the upcoming legislative session begins on Jan. 11.

“I believe Texans understand and appreciate that government agencies have to tighten their belts, just like small businesses and families are doing across our state, and do more with less," said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

All state agencies must submit their budget requests to the LBB, a permanent joint legislative committee, for review and recommendations prior to setting the spending limit. While the governor asked all agencies to cut their budgets by 5%, the new economic forecast suggests more cuts might be needed.

“The cuts we are making are essential to address Texas’ budget challenges to ensure we are fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds,” said House Speaker Joe Straus.

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