A new report says revenue projections for the current budget are $2 billion less than Texas Comptroller Susan Combs forecasted last year.
Combs writes in this year's State of Texas Annual Cash Report that "[c]ontributing to the lower balance were decreased tax collections." It should be pointed out that this is a report on the current biennium's budget, not the 2011-12 budget, which may need to be cut by as much as $25 billion.
"We aren't going to have enough money to pay the bills unless the legislature either cuts back services really severely, because there won't be that much time left in the budget by the time they come back to Austin, or find some other way to get money from the Rainy Day Fund or some other new source of revenue," Budget analyst Dick Lavine with the Center for Public Policy Priorities told KUT News.
"It's perfectly obvious that there's no way you can cut the budget enough to cover the shortfall in the next budget," Lavine said. "With the amount of shortfall that's being forecast, you would literally have to eliminate all the rest of state government in order to avoid cutting education and health and human services. It just can't be done." Lavine says new sources of revenue will be necessary.
Governor Rick Perry, fighting today for a third full term in office, has publicly disputed the severity of the projected shortfall for 2011-12, telling Bloomberg in September that it was "rank political rhetoric."
Comptroller Susan Combs has scheduled a meeting of the Business Tax Advisory Committee for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, her office confirmed Monday. Associate Deputy Comptroller Mike Reissig will summarize a new report on the business tax and take questions from committee members. The committee's leadership includes legislators and taxpayers.