The Senate Finance Committee met August 13 to hear testimony concerning the budget process, the Texas economy, constitutional spending limits, the economic stabilization fund, methods of finance and border related issues.
In his presentation, Chief Revenue Estimator John Helleman updated the committee on the current state of the Texas economy. According to Helleman, Texas employment rates are growing at a rate of 3% per year, doubling the rate of national growth. Helleman noted Texas has the 12th largest economy in the world and is now in the trillions of dollars range.  The economic stabilization fund is expected to end fiscal year 2015 with a balance of $8.4 billion, assuming voter approve Proposition 1 this November which would take money out of the fund to finance water projects throughout the state.  Mike Morrissey with the governor’s office discussed the border surge called by Gov. Rick Perry and noted financing made available for the surge is only expected to last through the end of 2014. Next session budget discussions will be necessary to continue funding the operations. Morrissey noted federal reimbursement for the surge is still a possibility.