FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/23/2013
Rep.Howard Legislation Ensures Access to Economic Stabilization Fund for States Infrastructure Needs
AUSTIN - Today, State Representative Donna Howard filed House Bill 652, which ensures that the needed infrastructure funding touted by the state's leadership will not hit a technical snag. HB 652 clarifies the original intent of the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) and restates in statute that appropriations from the ESF are not counted against the state's spending cap.
"This bill will clarify the intent of the ESF; namely, the constitutionally created ESF is a 'special fund' dedicated toward offsetting revenue shortfalls and, therefore, does not fall within the definition of funds to be counted toward the spending limit, i.e. ‘state tax revenues not dedicated by the constitution,’" Howard said.
"This allows the legislature to actually appropriate monies from this fund as originally intended within the constitutional constraints imposed on such appropriations by voting thresholds specified in the constitution.”
The Texas Constitution requires that certain funds be moved from the General Revenue Fund into the Economic Stabilization Fund, which was constitutionally created in 1988. By restating in statute that the ESF is a "constitutionally dedicated fund," HB 652 would ensure that proposals such as those listed as priorities by Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst — including water and transportation infrastructure — are able to occur without restricting the appropriations of the General Revenue Fund.