Yesterday, Governor Perry announced his intention to support a budget that uses $3.1 Billion of the Rainy Day Fund to plug a hole in the state’s debt for the current biennium. Since the Governor’s announcement, many of my constituents have asked me about the implications of the Governor’s decision. I want to be very clear that yesterday’s agreement is merely a band-aid on a gaping wound.
While the decision to tap $3.1 Billion allows the comptroller to pay outstanding debt, it does nothing to address approximately $23 Billion still needed to avoid teacher layoffs and nursing home closures.
Utilizing $3.1 Billion will leave the balance of the Rainy Day Fund at just over $6 Billion. Additional money in the fund could be used for critical needs like public education and nursing home funding, however, Governor Perry has stated that he does not intend to authorize any further use of the fund. Regardless of whether we use more of the Rainy Day Fund, Governor Perry and the majority party must open up to new forms of revenue or else the futures of children and senior citizens across the state will be put in jeopardy by draconian budget cuts.