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Texas: State Spending Trends


Texas: State Spending Trends

Texas is a big state in more ways than one - the Lone Star State holds the title of second-most populous state in the U.S.A.! With nearly 30 million people to serve, the state government carefully administers a budget of around $100 billion (2014) annually, much of which is spent repairing and improving critical infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals, airports and other vital structures.

Below, we will look at how Texas allocates its resources, how state agencies keep track of expenditures, and also provide some insight into the opportunities available for businesses that are seeking to bid on state and local government contracts.

Did You Know…

-          Sales taxes and gross receipts account for more than 75% of Texas’ annual total tax revenues, based on FY2013 figures.

-          There is no personal income tax on workers in Texas.

-          Texas’ state credit rating has improved from AA (2004-2008) to AA+ (2009-2012) and now to AAA (2013-2014), as determined by Standard and Poor's.

-          Texas received $37.3 billion in federal funds in FY2012, accounting for 34.5% of the state’s general revenues.

 

A Balanced Budget – By Law

Texas is unique among States in that the Texas Constitution prohibits deficit spending. This uncompromising stance on fiscal responsibility ensures that the Texas Legislature balances the State budget each and every year, and that any new expenditure beyond the yearly budget must be explicitly approved by voters – making new spending a risky political gamble for Texan politicians.

Browse open Texas government contracts on BidNet.

Spending by government sector

Here is how Texas funded government functions in FY2013:

K-12 education: 27.4% of total budget

Higher education: 15.7%

Public assistance: 0.1%

Medicaid: 31.7%

Corrections: 3.6%

Transportation: 8.9%

Other (public health, employer contributions to pensions and health benefits, environmental initiatives, state police, parks and recreational facilities, housing, children’s health insurance, community care for mentally ill and disabled people, and general aid to local governments): 12.6%

Since 2008, State spending on higher education has increased by more than 4 percent, while funding for K-12, public assistance and other expenses have dropped significantly.

Texas Transportation Projects and Proposals

Texas covers an area of nearly 700,000 square kilometers, making it the second largest state in America after Alaska. This means that the condition of Texas’ highways, roads and public transportation networks are particularly important to Texans and are of critical importance to the state’s economy.

Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation is considering the building of a new passenger rail system that would service an 850-mile corridor from Oklahoma City, OK to South Texas. The project would be divided into three sections: Oklahoma City to Dallas/Fort Worth, Dallas/Fort Worth to San Antonio, and San Antonio to the Corpus Christi/Rio Grande Valley region.

In October 2015, the Texas DOT won more than $20 million in federal funds under the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. The funds will be used to build and improve rural transportation networks across the State. As well, more than 300 aging rural transportation vehicles will be replaced thanks to the TIGER funds.

In addition to the TIGER funding, the Texas Transportation Commission also announced awards totaling more than $66 million (in combined federal and State funds) for urban and rural public transportation networks.


Browse open state and local transportation contracts in Texas.


Texas State Expenditures by Agency

Texas is a leader in government spending transparency. The site texastransparency.org allows users to run in-depth queries into the annual expenditures of all government agencies, providing access to a wealth of data that reveals how the state prioritizes and manages its resources.

Below are the spending details of three of Texas’ most important public agencies: The Department of Agriculture, the Employees Retirement System of Texas, and the Department of Information Resources. All figures provided are from Fiscal Year 2015 and rounded to the nearest dollar. 

 

Department of Agriculture

Capital Outlay

$827,171

Claims and Judgments

$242,725

Communications and Utilities

$556,752

Employee Benefits

$9,638,619

Interfund Transfers/Other

$11,607,324

Intergovernmental Payments

$82,934,536

Other Expenditures

$8,139,152

Printing and Reproduction

$363,011

Professional Services and Fees

$1,610,264

Public Assistance Payments

$439,436,729

Rentals and Leases

$1,144,533

Repairs and Maintenance

$1,381,778

Salaries and Wages

$34,462,682

Supplies and Materials

$1,120,028

Travel

$1,237,909

TOTAL

$594,703,213

 

Employees Retirement System of Texas

Capital Outlay

$512,427

Communications and Utilities

$6,216,687

Employee Benefits

$1,283,964,680

Interfund Transfers/Other

$2,102,282,384

Investments

$2,979,700,000

Other Expenditures

$107,471,524

Printing and Reproduction

$64,099

Professional Services and Fees

$10,005,032

Public Assistance Payments

$106,465,641

Rentals and Leases

$592,418

Repairs and Maintenance

$1,078,403

Salaries and Wages

$30,137,491

Supplies and Materials

$989,649

Travel

$626,591

TOTAL

$6,630,107,027

 

Department of Information Resources

Capital Outlay

$3,921,787

Claims and Judgements

$9,600

Communications and Utilities

$76,297,618

Employee Benefits

$3,803,763

Interfund Transfers/Other

$31,745

Other Expenditures

$200,812,255

Printing and Reproduction

$14,757

Professional Services and Fees

$13,127,237

Rentals and Leases

$14,210

Repairs and Maintenance

$1,582,869

Salaries and Wages

$15,704,157

Supplies and Materials

$46,515

Travel

$90,336

TOTAL

$315,456,849

 

A Leader in Spending Transparency

The spending breakdown for these departments shows just how strict the accounting for public agencies in Texas is. By maintaining a detailed register of every expense occurred on taxpayers’ behalf, Texas proactively engages with its citizens who have questions about how tax dollars are being spent.

Texas provides an excellent example of how government transparency initiatives benefit the people who should have unfettered access to important public records. As transparency regulations are gradually adopted by states, counties and municipalities nationwide, the importance of promoting fiscal responsibility in government has clearly become a priority in the United States.

Up next in our state spending trends series is California, the largest state economy in America. 

Nathan Munn | BidNet.com

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