Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Study: Water issue won't drain rainy day fund

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TWC News: Study: Water issue won't drain rainy day fund
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The state's Economic Stabilization Fund is topped off, partly with revenue generated by the oil and gas severance tax.

State water advocates are urging voters to use some of that money toward water issues by voting ‘yes’ on Proposition 6 this November.

That's part of the reason for the study - so Texans can get a better idea about how the state's piggy bank would hold up should the proposition pass. The other is to look at what’s happening with the state's economy as it rebounds from the recession.

Gov. Rick Perry is hosting a news conference tomorrow where he’s expected to talk about the importance of funding the state's water plan.

"In all honesty, you can't take our oil and gas production for granted," said Dale Craymer of Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. "Because of the tremendous investment in oil and gas, particularly in the shale oil projects, Texas production is soaring. As a result, the financial health of the Rainy Day Fund is on a path towards prosperity."

Next month, Texas voters will be asked to approve taking $2 billion from the state's savings account to jumpstart the state's water plan.

Then next year, they'll be asked to divert about $1 billion dollars in oil and gas revenue to fund road and infrastructure projects.

“And what we found is even if voters authorize those expenditures, the fund is on a path to more than offset those expenditures and grow to new records over the next several years," Craymer said.

According to the report, Texas collected $4.5 billion in oil and gas severance taxes in 2013 with $2.5 billion of that funneling into the rainy day fund, setting an all-time record.

"What's driving this investment is technology and not price speculation,” Craymer said. “That's a much healthier foundation for growth and investment than anything we've experienced before in the industry.

Republicans under the pink dome have been wary of using up the state's Rainy Day Fund, but many contend that investing in the state's water and roads is necessary for future growth in the state. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP