The fiscal outlook

This Ben Sargent cartoon sums up the outlook for the session pretty well.

The Legislature dives into some pretty shallow fiscal waters

The Legislature dives into some pretty shallow fiscal waters

Comptroller Susan Comb’s Biennial Revenue Estimate 2010-2011 was released on Monday. The second line of the letter to the state’s leaders makes the challenge clear: “For 2010-11, the state can expect to have $77.1 billion in funds available for general-purpose spending. This represents a 10.5 percent decrease from the corresponding amount of funds available for 2008-09.” Clearly, the Legislature is going to have some tough choices to make and there’s almost no room for new initiatives. Legislators had already been very cautious when talking about goals for the upcoming session and their worries certainly became more real on Monday.

The projection that 111,000 Texans will lose their jobs in the coming year highlights both the source of the fiscal decline and the growing needs that some programs will face. Legislators are already debating how much of the “rainy day” funds they entered the year with can/should be spent this session. It certainly looks like a rainy fiscal day to me.

Like a lot of people who work for the state I’m not relishing going without a significant pay raise. However, I’m feeling very lucky to enjoy the job security that comes with a faculty position.

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