Last month the Legislative Budget Board held a meeting to set the growth rate for the state's two-year budget. The growth rate is used as a cap to limit how much the Legislature can spend in the upcoming legislative session.
The Legislative Budget Board meeting was led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus. It was determined that the growth rate for the state’s two-year budget would be set at 8%. The 10-member board agreed unanimously on the 8% growth rate. This year's rate is about 4% lower than the 11.7% rate approved before the 2015 legislative session.
The decrease in the state’s budget is reflective of economic conditions of the past two years. Lower levels of oil and gas drilling activity combined with a decrease in sales-tax collections have contributed to the Legislatures spending limit. Texas' 6.25 percent sales tax is the state's most relied-upon revenue streams. The total sales tax revenue for the three month period between September 2016-November 2016 was down 2.2% compared with the same three month period a year ago.
Although my colleagues and I are preparing to work with a tight budget, the spending limit provides us with an opportunity to make strategic investments in priorities such as education, child protection services and mental health care. I will continue my work to ensure that Texas remains fiscally responsible and economically free because this is a proven formula for growth and prosperity.