Draining the Rainy Day fund


Texas' Rainy Day fund is at a nearly record all-time high, roughly $11 billion, but legislators want to withdraw billions of dollars for hurricane relief and school finance reform to help property owners with taxes.

Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said that would leave only $5-7 billion dollars in it, which could make some antsy.

"The more we draw it down, the more we risk adversely effecting infrastructure spending on highways because some highway funds come from the rainy day fund, but only as long as it remains above a certain level," said Jones.

He said the spirit of the rainy day funds was for unexpected expenses or one-time expenses, like Hurricane Harvey relief. What's questionable is the House pushing to use the rainy day funds for school finance reform because that is a recurring expense.

"Using them to fund ongoing school refinance reforms, instead of essentially paying for public schools, is somewhat problematic, because you can use them this cycle, but there's no guarantee that they'll be there the next cycle, which will just create a hole for the future legislatures," said Jones.

He said the rainy day funds can be used on anything they want as long as legislators support it.


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