Texas Senate seeks to tap billions from rainy day fund

by Asher Price
March 14, 2019

Aiming to cover lingering expenses related to Hurricane Harvey and add additional safety measures at schools, state senators on Wednesday approved spending more than $4 billion from the state rainy day fund as part of a stop-gap spending measure.
The supplemental budget measure plugs holes in the current two-year budget cycle, which ends in August, and can include other one-time expenditures.
The Senate proposal, which ultimately will have to be squared with a House counterpart, calls for a supplemental appropriation of $8.4 billion for fiscal 2019 to pay for everything from Harvey-related expenses to a crime lab shortfall at the Department of Public Safety and bolstering the teacher retirement system.
The majority of the money — $4.4 billion — would come out of the rainy day fund.
The rainy day fund was set up in the late 1980s as a management tool to smooth out a volatile source of revenue: oil- and gas-related tax collections.

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