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Combs optimistic about Texas economy

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs visited Beaumont Wednesday to answer questions from community leaders about issues facing the state’s budgets, debts and the disappointing trends in state spending.

Combs spoke optimistically about the growth of Texas’ economy, revealing state sales tax numbers for the month of March, 1.87 billion, up 16.9 percent from the same time last year.

“Sales is the large animal in the room,” said Combs. “People feel better, They’re shopping. They’re spending.”

She also reported that the state has $6.2 billion in the rainy day fund and expects the rainy day fund to increase to $7.3 billion by 2013.

One of her concerns was that Texas has the second highest per capita debt load in the US, behind only New York state.

In 2009, each Texan owed $7,983 through debt of local governments,  incurred primarily through financing infrastructure and facility projects, according to Comptroller.

“And you are on the hook for everything,” said Combs. “You pay federal taxes, you pay state, you pay school.”

She also produced graphical information revealing the recent growth in spending for Medicaid and public education.

“If nothing happens, by 2023 almost three quarters of all state revenue will go to Medicaid and public education,” said Combs. “What’s left is for all of the other stuff.”

 

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