The Legislative Budget Board has given state agencies instructions regarding their submission of legislative appropriations requests for the 2014-2015 biennium. State agencies were directed not to request any funds above funds spent in 2012 or budgeted for 2013. Agencies were also asked to submit proposals on ways to reduce current budgets by 10 percent. Several areas were exempted, including the Foundation School Program; money for debt payments; Medicaid entitlement programs; the Children’s Health Insurance Program; foster care; adoption subsidies; permanency care assistance; and the state’s contributions to state pension and employee group benefit plans. Prison and other criminal justice and security programs were not excluded from the budget cuts.
The Democrats and Republicans will meet this weekend for their party conventions. Democrats will gather in Houston while Republicans will gather in Ft. Worth. One interesting factor this year is that the primary runoff elections have not been held so expect to see those candidates actively participating in the conventions.
Texas had another good month in terms of sales tax collections. Comptroller Susan Combs announced that Texas collected $2.09 billion in sales tax revenue last month, up 7.3 percent from the same period the previous year. That makes 26 months of consecutive sales tax growth.
Here is an interesting fact. According to statistics released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that breakdown gross domestic product by state, Texas now accounts for 8.7 percent of the United States’ economy.