Texas Legislature
3:58 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Senate Passes Joint Resolution To Use Rainy Day Fund For Water, Roads & Education

A Texas comptroller report has spurned lawmakers to approve a measure that will provide about $6 billion for roads, water and education.  

In the report, Comptroller Susan Combs said the last bienum revealed a higher than expected rise in property tax revenues, which the state could use to help fund school districts.

The Texas Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 1 that addresses concerns about fixing Texas roads, sets up funds for water infrastructure and provides school districts with an additional $1.4 billion. 

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, the resolution co-sponsor, has some reservations about the water component of the bill.

"I’m okay with taking the money for water, but that is what house Bill 11 does; I like the House Bill 11 approach. I am all for going to the voters, but if we would've had to go to the voters on House Bill 275 to fund our on-going expenses, we would have gone into default," Pitts said.

He says where things get sticky is in the portion of the bill that takes money to repair and build roads.

"I think what I am hearing from the House side is we have got to do something to take care of the roads in what I call the 'oil patch.'  That is about $400 to 500 million dollars. So I think that is our first priority," Pitts said.

He said he worries the bill will not pass because of strong voter opposition in regard to taking money from the Rainy Day Fund to build and maintain roads.

Regarding education, the third component of the bill, Pitts questioned why the legislature would need a constitutional amendment to fund education.  If approved by the House, lawmakers would supply a total of $4.4 billion towards public education.

The resolution now heads to the House.