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What should Texas do with the record $32 billion surplus?

This year the state of Texas has a record $32.7 billion surplus, but how did it happen? How much of it will they spend? And what will they spend it on?

AUSTIN, Texas — When the 2022-2023 budget was passed a few years ago, the projected state revenue was about $119 billion, but because of historic growth in tax collection, the total revenue ended up totaling $149 billion. That's how the Lone Star State ended up with an over $32 billion surplus.

"It's due to lots of sales and multiple things in the retail stores of sale, which I'm in favor of as a retailer, Texas State Representative John Raney said. "We're collecting dollars on those out-of-sales that are going out of state now."

You've probably heard about Texas Governor Greg Abbott's idea to include $15 billion dollars in property tax cuts in the new budget plan, but those in the Brazos Valley are asking for the extra cash to go toward education, mental health care, and transportation.

"The thing that I've had the most phone calls about is public education and teacher pay," Raney said. "I know we're going to have some increase in teacher pay. What that's gonna be I don't know at this point, but I believe we'll have some increase in teacher pay and hope is significant."

Texas lawmakers have until Aug. 31 to spend any amount of the surplus or add all or part of it to the 2024-2025 budget. Doing the latter could set the state up for another record-breaking state revenue period.

"There's no guarantee that it'll continue," Raney said. "I believe it will for a while, but the economy typically has ups and downs and we will continue to have those."

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