As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas – and from vehicles, food portions and clothing accessories, to the chief executive’s time in office and the economy – the adage lives up to reality. Nowhere is this more apparent than with a cursory glance at the state’s budget. In 2011, at the height of the fiscal crisis that plagued states, Deltek parsed through the political rhetoric to report on the health of Texas’ budget. In that report, we examined Governor Rick Perry’s proposed budget and found that a budgetary deficit of $27 billion had prompted him to slash spending in nearly every department and vertical, minus public finance. In retrospect, we can report that the depth of the cuts proposed by the governor for the FY 2012-13 biennium were not borne out in the actual expenditures from FY 2012. Indeed, the governor’s current biennium budget proposal contains a near complete restoration of funding to 2011 levels.
In the FY 2014 – 15 biennium budget, we gain an excellent opportunity to compare the proposed budget with actual expenditures. At face value, Governor Perry’s proposals reflect a high point in FY 2011, with massive cuts in FY 12-13, and a near restoration of funding in FY 14-15 (Figure 1).
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However, the real story, reflected in Figure 2 below, is far different. Yes, the governor proposed a budget for FY 12-13 that was severely cut vis à vis FY 11, but when one observes the actual expenditure data, it becomes clear that the state found it quite difficult to slash the budget across all verticals as originally proposed. The actual expenditures show an increase in funding for the health and human services, general government, natural resources, and public safety verticals. This is a far different picture of fiscal health than the one painted in Governor Perry’s original budget proposal. .