HB 11

83(R) - 2013
Natural Resources

Vote Recommendation

Vote No; Amend
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Allan Ritter

Bill Caption

Relating to the appropriation of money from the economic stabilization fund to finance certain water-related projects.

Fiscal Notes

Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB11, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: an impact of $0 through the biennium ending August 31, 2015.

Bill Analysis

Summary: HB 11 would move $2 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) to the State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) created earlier this session when the Legislature passed HB 4. 

Analysis: We oppose HB 11. This legislation constitutes a raid on the ESF incompatible with the purpose of the ESF, which is designed to act as a backstop against budget cycles when general revenue inflow does not meet state spending obligations. With more than $8 Billion in general revenue on hand, Texas has plenty of money available to fund state priorities. We are not persuaded that there is a limited government case to be made for raiding the ESF for the purpose of funding the SWIFT.  

We agree that there is a case to be made for Texas to spend money on water infrastructure development. Indeed, with a rapidly growing population and the certainty that the state will occasionally experience periods of severe drought, we are persuaded that Texas must make water infrastructure a high priority. This priority should be balanced against other state priorities; including transportation, education, and entitlement programs, and paid for out of general revenue.

Our position, based on our principle of limited government is that Texas should:

  • Fund state obligations out of general revenue, except in exigent circumstances when supplemental appropriations are needed to cover deficits created by decreases in revenue or when unexpected spending (such as natural disaster recovery) arises that must be paid for after the fact.
  • Count any appropriations from the ESF toward the constitutional spending cap.
  • Not raise the constitutional spending cap.

Recommendation: We recommend legislators oppose HB 11. We would support an amendment to reduce the amount of the appropriation to a level that keeps spending well below the constitutional spending cap.