Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced on Thursday that a total of $8.52 billion has been transferred to the State Highway Fund and the Economic Stabilization Fund.
A press release sent to The Dallas Express from the comptroller’s office states that the State Highway Fund (SHF) received $3.06 billion, while the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), also known as the Rainy Day Fund, received $5.46 billion.
Although the two funds typically receive similar funding, the ESF received an additional $2.41 billion due to a general revenue (GR) surplus at the end of the 2023 fiscal year.
There is also a combined severance tax transfer to the two funds of $6.11 billion, which “are based on crude oil and natural gas production tax revenues in excess of 1987 collections,” per the press release.
A 2014 state constitutional amendment allows at least half of these taxes to be transferred to the ESF, with the remainder reserved for the SHF. The SHF uses the funds for right-of-way acquisitions, highway construction, and roadway maintenance.
The Texas Constitution states that an additional transfer to the ESF will equal one-half of any unencumbered GR surplus at the end of every two-year period, resulting in the additional funds being transferred for the first time since 2008, according to the press release.
Following the end of fiscal year 2023 on August 31, the ESF balance was $14.17 billion.
The transfer of $5.46 billion to the ESF will bring the total to $19.63 billion; however, this figure does not include an estimated $400 million in outstanding spending.
Hegar praised the state’s economy and lawmakers for helping contribute to the transfers.
“The strong Texas economy and judicious budgeting by lawmakers netted a surplus that, for the first time in more than a decade, allows us to set aside an additional bucket of money to ensure we are able to weather future downturns,” said Hegar, per the press release.
“The Rainy Day and State Highway funds are tremendous assets for the taxpayers of Texas and help provide the foundation needed for the future of this great state,” he said.