comptroller seal Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


September 19, 2016

Texas Rainy Day Fund: Paying it – and Saving it – Forward

(AUSTIN) —In 1988, in the wake of a recession caused by slumping energy prices, the Texas Legislature created the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) as a cushion for state budget writers to fall back on in lean times.

The ESF – commonly called the “Rainy Day Fund” – has grown from less than $20 million to $9.7 billion at the end of fiscal 2016. Deriving most of its revenues from the state’s oil and gas production taxes, Texas’ rainy day fund is the largest of its kind in the nation.

In the latest issue of Fiscal Notes, the Comptroller’s office examines the rainy day fund and how it’s been used over the years.

“Sound fiscal management, conservative budgeting and responsible stewardship of the rainy day fund have allowed Texas to weather previous budgetary challenges, address pressing infrastructure needs and avoid short-term borrowing to close cash flow gaps,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “While our state faces a more challenging fiscal climate than in recent biennia, our rainy day fund remains an essential and robust backstop to help Texas through times of economic adversity.”

Fiscal Notes is an extension of the Comptroller’s constitutional responsibilities to monitor the state’s economy and estimate state government revenues. It has been published periodically since 1975, featuring in-depth analysis concerning state finances and original research by subject-matter experts in the Comptroller’s office.

Published monthly, Fiscal Notes is online at, and can also be received by subscribing via the Comptroller’s website.