The head of the Texas state Capitol, where Texas has a $20 billion bond program, said he is concerned about how the state could lose its $20 million bond program if lawmakers cannot agree on how to replace it.
In a speech Wednesday, the Texas Tribune editorial board urged lawmakers to replace the program with a tax increase, saying lawmakers need to “do their homework” before deciding how to fund the program.
But the state’s finance commissioner said that while it’s “not uncommon” for governors to work on an economic stimulus plan before passing a budget, it’s not uncommon for lawmakers to come up with a new plan after they are elected.
State Rep. Michael Duncan said lawmakers need a “very clear idea” of what the plan will look like.
Duncan, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said lawmakers have “a great deal of flexibility” in the budget, and they can “do a lot of things.”
If they can’t come to an agreement, Duncan said, “I think that the bond program is going to end.
I’m not sure we’re going to be able to maintain it.””
We can’t just roll over and say, ‘Oh, we’ll do whatever we want,'” he said.
“We have to be very, very careful with the way we fund the state.”
The state’s bond program has been the focus of much debate over the last several years.
Texas is one of just four states that require the state to hold a bond sale before it can borrow money.
The other states that do so are Kansas, Montana and South Carolina.
The state has already passed a series of bond measures to help cover the cost of the Affordable Care Act, but lawmakers haven’t finalized how they will spend the money.
If the Texas legislature can’t get agreement on how it will fund the bond, the state is expected to seek another funding source, such as issuing debt to the U.S. Treasury.
Texas’ bond program expires in 2019.