EXCLUSIVE: Chairman Hilderbrans 2013 Texas Budget Preview

Very good news for our states finances. width=316Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN Texas If we maintain our 12 growth rate but (for budget planning purposes forecast growth) at only a 5-6 level that by itself leaves us with at least a $6 billion General Revenue Surplus as we enter the 2013 Session says State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran chairman of the Texas Houses tax-writing Ways & Means Committee. If we continue on at just a 5-or-6 growth rate just in this year that were in we will have very good news for state education and very good news for our states finances Hilderbran tells Insiders Jim Cardle in an exclusive Insider interview. width=203Its because of the conservative policies we made in 2011 the very difficult decisions we made when we were criticized for cutting too much said Hilderbran.

Join us here as Ways & Means Chair Harvey Hilderbran visits with Insiders Jim Cardle about the upcoming 2013 Sessions Budget Outlook including the Rainy Day Fund.    

Well probably finish funding what we need to fund in Medicaid well have the opportunity to fund what would have been a shortfall in public education which if we had funded it at the end of the last Legislative Session would have had a $2.2 billion price tag which we didnt have in the budget. 
And interestingly that $2.2 billion price tag forecast by the Texas Education Agency was based upon forecasts that turned out to be accurate economically but not accurate for the number of kids. So now itll really be give or take about a $1.8 billion dollar bill.
What we found in fact is that more efficiencies could be made we could reduce spending and most importantly we reduced the rate of growth in spending. Thats what we did Hilderbran said.    Texas is the jobs leader in the nation we are doing better than any other state. Our revenue collections width=109are higher and are now actually exceeding pre-recession numbers said Hilderbran. Weve had a 12 growth rate for the last Fiscal Year which in Texas ended August 31st of this year.  That will be an advantage because we will be in Legislative Session while in the middle of the Fiscal Year and we can adjust things from September 1st of the current Fiscal Year. We have that ability starting in 2013 Hilderbran said. Earlier in the summer Hilderbran told Texas Insider Theres some talk of repealing & then replacing width=73the Margins Tax which is the Business Franchise Tax we have in Texas but quite frankly Im worried we might end up with something even worse. Im starting to lean toward the idea of lets tweak it lets refine it lets do some things like specifically address the Small Business Exemption. Lets make the small business exemption permanent but we also need to expand it.
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