Where Did All the Money Go? How Do We Get it Back?

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Dick Lavine /(512) 320-0222 x 101

January 30, 2007

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Although the comptroller has certified $14.3 billion in “new money” available for appropriation, the budget proposed by the Legislative Budget Board leaves only $2.5 billion in uncommitted revenue – not enough to meet our state’s needs. Half of the new money, $6.9 billion, would be locked up for property tax cuts – $3.9 billion to fund property tax cuts in the 2008-09 budget, plus another $3.0 billion to continue the tax cuts in 2010-11. The proposed budget could be changed in two ways to increase the amount available for other priorities. First, property tax cuts could be limited to only the amount that could be funded with the revenue raised by the 2006 special session. Second, another $1.4 billion could be freed up for appropriation by continuing deferrals of certain payments to schools and social-service providers.