by Robert D. Miller, Yuniedth Midence Steen, and Gardner Pate
On Monday, June 1, the Texas Legislature adjourned sine die, ending the 84th Legislative Session. At this time, we do not anticipate Governor Greg Abbott (R) will bring legislators back in a special session, meaning the next time the legislature will convene is January 2017.
The Big Issues for 2015
Prior to the 2015 session, Comptroller Glenn Hegar (R) provided the legislature with his biennial revenue estimate. This estimate is effectively a hard cap on how much money the legislature may appropriate for the upcoming biennium. The revenue estimate, approximately $113 billion, was a substantial increase over the spending done by the legislature in the previous biennium. The state also had a soft spending cap of approximately $94 billion in non-dedicated general revenue, representing a nearly 12% increase from the previous biennium. This is a soft cap because the legislature, by majority vote, can choose to exceed it. To state things another way: Texas had a lot of money to play with in the 2015 session.
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