April 9, 2018
There’s a healthy conversation going on in Austin circles about the best way to responsibly manage Texas’ $11 billion Economic Stabilization Fund, or rainy day fund.
I’ve made some common-sense proposals about ways to grow the fund — while safeguarding it from inflation and market volatility — and earn some extra money for long-term budget needs.
It’s a subject we’ve needed to discuss for years, and I welcome the debate. But when my positions are mischaracterized, I must respectfully disagree.
On March 31, the San Antonio Express-News published a staff editorial critical of my proposals for the rainy day fund, and I set the record straight in an April 6 opinion piece explaining that “Investing More of the Rainy Day Fund Isn’t Risky.”
In case you missed the piece, I encourage you to read it and learn more about a rarely discussed risk to the rainy day fund — inflation — and why prudent investments could mitigate that risk and pave the way for solid future returns.
If left unchecked, long-term obligations the state faces, such as retiree health care and employee pensions, could lead to a downgrade in Texas’ bond rating — and a significant increase in the state’s cost of borrowing money. I argue better returns from the rainy day fund could be used to address at least some, though certainly not all, of these obligations.
Texas has a unique economic resource in the rainy day fund, yet present state law prevents us from getting the maximum benefit from it. I urge all Texans, taxpayers and legislators to recognize the fund’s potential — as a source of investment revenue, not just a piggybank. The Comptroller’s office currently manages and invests about $60 billion of taxpayer money, with admirable results during both flush and lean economic times. With the same care, the rainy day fund could serve as a key resource for the state, even when it’s not raining.
Thank you for all you do for Texas, and God bless,
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.