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Comptroller: Texas will likely tap Rainy Day Fund

Comptroller: Texas will likely tap Rainy Day Fund
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 10:22am

Texas lawmakers will almost certainly have to tap the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget in 2013, but by how much depends largely on the global economy and policy decisions made in Washington, state Comptroller Susan Combs told The Associated Press.

Many lawmakers have said they did not budget enough money to cover the state's obligations for the 2012-2013 budget cycle, but the keeper of the state's books said in an interview Tuesday that lawmakers will need to pass what is called a supplemental bill to make ends meet at the end of the biennium.

A day earlier she forecast that Texas will earn $1.6 billion more revenue than expected during over the next two years, due to the recovering national economy. But that won't be enough to cover the cost of Medicaid, which lawmakers deliberately underfunded by an estimated $4.8 billion.

"That is the fungus that will eat the planet ... that is a national problem," Combs said of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

The Republican said she supported a new law that will allow Texas to enter into interstate agreements that proponents say will reduce Medicaid costs, but that won't save enough.

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