Fiscal Analysis

Fiscal Analysis will provide one with the monthly/bi-monthly report on the State's fiscal condition. At the beginning of each month the Comptroller updates the revenue collections and expenditures for the state for the prior month. These data are used to prepare a monthly/bi-monthly report. One can obtain the Excel file used to prepare these reports in Data Files. Along with the analysis of the state's monthly fiscal condition, articles dealing with improving this condition will also be available.  


To Increase by How Much, That Is the QuestionMarch 18 - Both state tax collections and total revenue continue to increase at a rate substantially greater than in the Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE) released by the Comptroller’s Office on December 12, 2013. The growth rate in total state tax collections for FY14 is over three times more than predicted in the CRE. Total state revenue is increasing over twice the CRE rate of increase. Both the Certification Balance and FY15 transfer to the Rainy Day Fund and State Highway Department should be significantly greater than in the current estimate.

The Uptick ContinuesFeb. 19 - Both state tax collections and total revenue continue to increase at a rate substantially greater than in the Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE) released by the Comptroller’s Office on December 12, 2013. The growth rate in total state tax collections is almost three times more than predicted in the CRE. Total state revenue is increasing twice the CRE rate of increase. Both the Certification Balance and FY15 transfer to the Rainy Day Fund and State Highway Department should be significantly greater than in the current estimate.

Deja Vu All Over AgainDec. 18 - With the close of the State's fiscal year and release of the Certification Revenue Estimate, we can compare actual YTD collections with the revised estimate. Continuing with a conservative fiscal outlook, tax collections are estimated to increase by 2.4 percent in FY14 compared to actual YTD tax collections increasing by 6.9 percent. Should this differential continue, tax collections in FY14 should be almost $2 billion more than in the CRE.

A Billion Here, A Billion There, Are We Talking Real Money?Nov. 10 - wo months into FY14, both state collections and total revenue are exceeding the current revenue estimate. Tax collections through October increased by 7.5 percent compared to FY13, while total state revenue increased by 5.2 percent. Both these growth rates exceed the current estimated growth rate for FY14.

If tax revenue growth continues through FY14 at the 7.5 percent rate experienced so far this year, state tax revenue for FY14 will be over $50 billion. Given this increase in tax collections and continued growth in FY15, the 84th Legislature will have the largest GR balance in history, exceeding the 8.0 billion GR balance in FY07.

State Cash Balance = +$5.5 BillioneSept. 25 - The close of the state’s fiscal year showed significant improvement in the state’s fiscal condition. Taxes collections exceed the Comptroller’s estimate for FY13, while state expenditures again declined. The result of increasing revenues and declining expenditures resulted in the cash balance (revenue – expenditures) of the state being $5.5 billion, the largest cash balance experienced this century.

The improved revenue situation for the state will show a $2.5 billion transfer to the Rainy Day Fund in November and when the Certification Estimate is released in December an ending certification balance of at least $3.5 billion.

Like the Phoenix, the Estimate Will RiseAug. 18 - Should tax revenue continue to increase at the rate experienced so far this year, one would expect tax revenue to be over $500 million more than in the current estimate for this year and at least $5.0 billion more for the FY14-15 biennium. The state should also expect that the transfer to the Rainy Day Fund for next biennium to be over $1.0 billion more than in the current estimate.

These increases in revenue would have provided the legislature the necessary revenue ($3.2 billion) to fund both additional funding for both water projects ($2 billion) and for TxDOT ($1.2 billion). It would also have allowed for an increase in funding for public education.

P.S. Be sure to click the Revenue Estimate staff link in the article.
Old Man Money Just Keeps Rolling InJuly 18 - With the Comptroller’s recent announcement that "$683.1 million, of an estimated $100.7 billion available for general-purpose spending, remains unappropriated," and the continuing substantial growth (8.1 percent) in tax collections, one would expect a revised revenue estimate.

Should revenue continue to increase at the rate experienced so far this year, one would expect tax revenue to be over $1.2 million more than in the estimate for this year and almost $4.0 billion more for the FY14-15 biennium. The state should also expect that the transfer to the Rainy Day Fund for this fiscal year to be over $2.3 billion, $650 million more than in the current estimate. The increase in revenue should provide the legislature in the remaining days to the necessary revenue to fund both the $2 billion in funding for TxDOT and also to increase funding for public education.

Greenfield: What Ought to Be: Certifiable Balance Should Be IncreasedJune 19 - State tax collections, through May continue to increase at a rate over 50 percent greater than the rate in the current biennial revenue estimate (BRE), while year-to-date state expenditures have declined by 4.2 percent through May 2013.

With the release of May revenue and expenditure data we now, with great certainty, should have the Comptroller revise the BRE. With tax collections increasing faster than estimated we should expect an additonal $1.4 billion for this fiscal year. Given the estimated 1.9 percent increase in tax collections in FY14, we should expect a substantial revision as this rate of growth has only occurred eight (8) times in the last 52 years. According to the BRE, the estimated growth rate for the Texas economy for FY14 is 3.4 percent, the same rate as this fiscal year, but the estimated growth in tax collections in FY14 (1.9 percent) is about one-fourth the current growth rate of 8.3 percent, and about one-third the BRE rate of growth (5.4 percent) in FY13 tax collections. With reasonable changes to the estimate, one should expect an estimated ending certification balance of $105.6 billion in FY15 and a total Rainy Day Fund transfer of $5.3 billion, a $1.6 billion increase from the current estimate.
Greenfield: To Increase or Not To Increase Is No Longer the QuestionMay 15 - State tax collections, through April continue to increase at a rate over 50 percent greater than the rate in the current biennial revenue estimate (BRE), while year-to-date state expenditures have declined by 4.4 percent through April 2013.

With the release of April revenue and expenditure data we now have a better idea of the revision we should expect in the BRE. With tax collections increasing faster than estimated we should expect an additonal $500 million for this fiscal year. Given the estimated 1.9 percent increase in tax collections in FY14, we should expect a substantial revision as this rate of growth has only occurred eight (8) times in the last 52 years. According to the BRE, the estimated growth rate for the Texas economy for FY14 is 3.4 percent, the same rate as this fiscal year, but the estimated growth in tax collections in FY14 (1.9 percent) is about one-fourth the current growth rate of 8.3 percent, and about one-third the BRE rate of growth (5.4 percent) in FY13 tax collections. With reasonable changes to the estimate, one should expect an estimated ending certification balance of $104.4 billion in FY15 and a total Rainy Day Fund transfer of $5.3 billion, a $1.6 billion increase from the current estimate.
Greenfield: To Increase or Not to Increase, That is the QuestionApril 18 - State tax collections, through March, continue to increase at a rate over 60 percent greater than the rate in the current biennial revenue estimate (BRE), while year-to-date state expenditures have declined by 5.1 percent through March 2013.

With the release of March revenue and expenditure data we now have a better idea of the revision we might expect in the BRE. With tax collections increasing faster than estimated we should expect an additonal $600 million for this fiscal year. Given the estimated 1.9 percent increase in tax collections, fwe should expect an substantial revision as this rate of growth has only occurred eight (8) times in the last 52 years. According to the BRE, the estimated growth rate for the Texas economy for FY14 is 3.4 percent, the same rate as this fiscal year, but the estimated growth in tax collections in FY14 (1.9 percent) is about one-fourth the current growth rate of 8.6 percent, and about one-third the BRE rate of growth (5.4 percent) in FY13 tax collections. With reasonable changes to the estimate, one should expect an estimated ending certification balance of $110 billion in FY15
Greenfield: Fiscal Halftime – Taxes Up, Expenditures DownMarch 14 - State tax collections, through February, continue to increase at a rate over 50 percent greater than the rate in the current biennial revenue estimate (BRE), while year-to-date state expenditures have declined by 4.3 percent through February 2013.

With the release of February revenue and expenditure data we now have a better idea of the revision we might expect in the BRE. FY13 tax collections are increasing faster than estimated, while the estimate for FY14 shows tax collections will be increasing by only 1.9 percent, a rate experienced only eight (8) times in the last 52 years. According to the BRE, the estimated growth rate for the Texas economy for FY14 is 3.4 percent, the same rate as this fiscal year, but the estimated growth in tax collections in FY14 (1.9 percent) is about one-fourth the current growth rate of 8.4 percent, and about one-third the BRE rate of growth (5.4 percent) in FY13 tax collections.
Greenfield: The 3R's - Revenue Remains RobustFeb. 12 - State tax collections, through January, continue to increase at a rate almost double the rate in the latest biennial revenue estimate (BRE), while state expenditures have declined by 3.2 percent through January 2013. Total revenue has increased by 3.9 percent, less than half the growth rate in the estimate. Primarily, this reduction is because federal receipts are less year-to-date than in FY12, says data maven Stuart Greenfield.

The supplemental appropriation bill, HB 10 recently passed by the House Appropriations Committee, by increasing Medicaid appropriations should result in an increase of $6.6 billion in federal income, to be used to fund the Medicaid cuts made in the 82nd Legislative session. This increase in federal income should result in total revenue growing faster than estimated in the BRE.

Since the ending certification balance is primarily affected by tax collections, should tax collections continue growing at almost 10 percent, the ending balance will $10.1 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion over the current estimate. The Rainy Day Fund transfer for FY14 will be about $2.3 billion, an increase of $600 million from the BRE, says Greenfield.
Greenfield: BRE CommentaryJan. 15 - With the release of both the BRE and revenue and expenditure data through December, one is better able to evaluate and track the current revenue estimate. It would appear that tax collections in FY13 will be m $2.2 bil more than in the BRE. This increase will increase the “surplus” to $10.3 billion. The transfer to the Rainy Day Fund will now exceed $2.3 billion in FY14, 40% more than in the estimate. Expenditures continue to decline. According to our leadership, more revenue and lower expenditures should result in an austere budget.
Greenfield: The courage in managing moneyJan. 9 - While the state has a substantial surplus, the fed's have been running a billion dollar deficit for the last 4 years. Many advocate for spending reductions and a cap on the deficit. To accomplish this would require substantial reductions in federal spending. This opinion piece documents what is required.
Billions and BillionsDec. 16 - With the release of the revenue and expenditure data for November, the state’s fiscal situation continues to realize double-digit growth in tax collections. This should result in a state surplus of almost $9 billion. Total state revenue is also increasing at a rate far in excess of the current revenue estimate, while state expenditures continue to decline.

Analysis of state revenue for the 1st quarter of FY13 indicates probable tax collections of $48.3 billion, over $4 billion more than revenue collected in FY12 and over $8 billion more than in the current revenue estimate. Comptroller Susan Combs will release a revised biennial revenue estimate in January for the start of the 83rd Legislative session. The Comptroller's current estimate for tax collections in the current biennium is $80.6 billion. Her estimate in January should show tax collections near $92 billion for this biennium and around $108 billion for the FY14-15 biennium. With the increased revenue for this biennium, one should expect a SURPLUS (“Ending Certification Balance”) for FY13 of near $9 billion. .

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WTF3Given that members of the 83rd Legislature will arrive with a minimum of $10 billion available for FY13, this articles explains how the dramatic cuts in public education and Medicaid can be fixed w/in 10 days.
FY12, State did quite wellOn August 31, the state ended FY12 with a significant increase in revenue and improvement in its fiscal situation. The ending certifiable balance improved by $2.3 billion over the latest estimate.
Comments on Revenue Estimate at Rep. Villarreal Press ConferenceOn October 02, Representative Mike Villarreal had a press conference with a number of education organizations to urge "fixing" the $5 billion underfunding of public education. Starting at minute 34, one can view my comments of the estimate and that more than sufficient funds will be available in January.
Nieman-Marcus health care, at Walmart PricesI volunteered to do a presentation at ERS on how the state could run more like a private business. In my 20-some years as a state employee, the mantra of the state's leadership was "we should be more like a business." Well, here's my suggested way to provide health care for all public employees at a reduced price and also provide an excellent and attractively priced health insurance to others.
Is TPPF studpid or what?A few months ago, TPPF resurrected its proposal to replace local property taxes with an increase in the state sales tax. A former colleague wrote a response, which TPPF dismissed. Unfortunately, the geniuses at TPPF didn't understand the data, nor performed the correct calculations. Not a benchmark analysis.
Articles from my PastFor a good number of years I would provide analysis of the state's fiscal condition to the Quorum Report. The link provides a bibliography of pieces I provided, gratis, to the QR. If one has access to the Quorum Report they can review this work. In the future my work will be available here, as I think I still have a few good article left in me.



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