Rainy Day Fund

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

There's a fight looming at the Texas Legislature: how to balance the state budget for the next two years.

The Texas House's version of the budget pulls $2.5 billion from the state's savings account, also known as the Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day, Fund.  Right now, there's more than $10 billion in that reserve.

The Senate, though, says it doesn't want to pull out any of that money.

But before that debate heats up, we got to wondering how all that money got there in the first place.

Texas Comptroller/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Since the 1980s, Texas has set aside a portion of state funds specifically to be used when things aren’t so rosy. It seems like an economically prudent move, but now some say the operations of the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) – also known as the Rainy Day Fund – make no fiscal sense. Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar says it’s time for a change.

Lower Colorado River Authority

Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes  rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full. 

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

The legislative session ends today – meaning lawmakers had a late final night of debating and voting on bills before today's mostly ceremonial end. Lawmakers did finally pass the one bill they’re constitutionally required to -- the state budget.

Texas Tribune http://www.texastribune.org/texas-legislature/82nd-legislative-session/appropriations-oks-31-billion-from-rainy-day-fund/

There’s a debate right now over what Texas lawmakers should do with the money in the Rainy Day Fund. The fund was set up in the 1980s to smooth out the differences from times of oil boom and bust.

Some see now as a boom time, because of the growth of energy production from hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," but others see the threat of stormy times ahead.