George on the Lege, Part 1 - Budget Crises: Back to the Future? Texas Budget Crises, Today and Yesterday

It’s no secret that the Texas Legislature faces a daunting budget problem, with deficits estimated to be as little as $15 billion or as much as $27 billion or more. Constitutionally speaking, however, the actual deficit is about $4.3 billion. That’s the difference between what was appropriated for the 2010-2011 biennium and the revenue the Comptroller of Public Accounts says is now available to pay for it. According to the Texas Constitution, the Legislature must come up with $4.3 billion by August 31 to balance the budget. The larger numbers reported in the media refer to the difference between the Comptroller’s estimated revenue for the next biennium (2012-13) and interpretations of maintaining a “current” level of services under existing law. In any event, the actual deficit and the anticipated shortfall seem to be a lot bigger than Texans have seen in a long time. Is this really the case?
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