Texarkana, TX 70° Fri H 88° L 71° Sat H 82° L 69° Sun H 87° L 71° Weather Sponsored By:

Texas booming but lawmakers warned of economic 'uncertainty'

Texas booming but lawmakers warned of economic 'uncertainty'

January 8th, 2019 by Paul J. Weber—The Associated Press in Texas News

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar speaks during a news conference where he released biennial revenue estimates that will be used to set Texas budget for the upcoming legislative session, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN— Texas' top financial official said Monday that unsettled trade policy by the Trump administration and economic "uncertainty" is clouding the spending picture as returning lawmakers face costly expenses including a public school funding overhaul and Hurricane Harvey's aftermath.

Those warnings came even as the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature reconvenes this week armed with more spending power than it has had in years because of the robust economy, according to budget projections released by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

Lawmakers will essentially have $9 billion more than under the state's current budget, which was written in 2017 during a highly contentious session that was overshadowed by a failed "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people and one measure empowering local police in Texas to ask people about their immigration status.

But Hegar said recent economic conditions still warrants caution.

"I think uncertainty is heightened right now," Hegar said. He pointed to rising interest rates, trade talks and signs of a slowing global economy.

Hegar, an elected Republican, said the federal government shutdown was having no immediate impact on his estimates but that his office was watching the impasse closely. He also said he did not believe President Donald Trump's proposed border wall, if built, would have a negative economic impact on Texas.

"With that being said, also, international trade is more important to Texas than any other state," he said.

On Monday, the White House announced that Trump would visit the border this week.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to cut property taxes this year as he begins a second term, but those taxes are also vital to Texas' classroom spending. In 2016, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that how the state pays for public schools was deeply flawed but still constitutional.

Leaders of both parties have said that overhauling the school finance system is a priority this session.

"The first thing you need to do is fund what we're doing now, and not start looking for cutting taxes with the money that's coming in," said Dick Lavine, a fiscal analyst for the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com