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Texas’ Finance Chief Warns Lawmakers: The Next State Budget Will Be Tight

The Texas comptroller says that despite continued economic growth, the state budget faces increased demands for spending on Medicaid, roads and recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

Texas State Capitol, Austin TX

Despite an economy that is reportedly continuing to grow, the state's budget chief is looking ahead to the next legislative session and warning lawmakers that some bills with hefty price tags are set to come due – and that revenue will be tight.

This warning to lawmakers from Comptroller Glenn Hegar comes after a legislative session during which state budget writers resorted to a couple of accounting tricks to free up more money, and in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Hegar says lawmakers are likely to tap the state's Rainy Day Fund for storm recovery.

Hegar says unemployment in Texas is low, while economic growth is getting back on track after taking a hit from Harvey. Constraints on the state budget include the economic hit caused by Harvey, as well as the need to construct more roads to accommodate the state's growth. Increased Medicaid spending will be needed, too, Hegar says.

"The overall economy is doing really well," Hegar says, "but I wanted to remind [lawmakers] that even though that is occurring, the next session is probably going to be another difficult session."

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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