HB 6 by Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton) and HB 7 by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) were both debated at length and amended on the House floor. Both bills are now headed to the Senate.
HB 6, known as the Fund Consolidation Bill, sweeps various accounts, including any cash balances left in dedicated revenue accounts, into the general revenue fund at the end of the next biennium. These dedicated accounts are collected for a particular purpose by law, but are often used to certify the state budget. HB 6 would limit this practice, by placing a cap on the amount of dedicated funds available for certification.
According to Rep. Otto’s remarks on the House floor, HB 6 would cap the amount of dedicated funds available for certification at $4 billion, which is a 20 percent reduction from two years ago. The total value of dedicated funds is expected to reach $5.3 billion in the next budget cycle for 2014-15.
The intent behind HB 6 is to reduce the state’s reliance on general revenue dedicated funds, but both bills are needed to achieve this objective.
HB 7 reduces the number of general revenue-dedicated accounts that are used for budget certification and to balance the state budget. Several floor amendments were adopted into HB 7. Some of them directly impact counties, including:
- 9-1-1 Services Fee Fund: Expands the purposes for which these funds can be used, including for the deployment of statewide, regional and local emergency network systems; updating geospatial mapping technologies; and allowing the legislature to appropriate 9-1-1 funds to provide assistance to volunteer fire departments.
- System Benefit Funds: Adds $100 million each fiscal biennium to serve the Low-Income Electric Customers Program Fund.
Here is an earlier article about HB 7 based on the filed version of the bill.
For more information, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.