Children in our community and across Texas will begin the new school year tomorrow. Julie and I want to wish our best to all of the students and families who are going back to school or enrolling for the first time. It's an exciting time (even if some of those students aren't quite ready to admit it).
With the next legislative session about six months away, I'm working with other state leaders to make sure Texas continues to live within its means.
I recently joined with other state leaders to instruct state agencies to prepare for a 4 percent reduction in their operating revenues. These instructions will require agencies to highlight their most important expenditures and contemplate how they could operate more efficiently. We also issued these instructions in order to guard against unneeded growth in our state budget and to provide a responsible starting point for the process of writing the state's next two-year budget.
Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus instructed state agencies this week how to prepare their Legislative Appropriations Requests (LAR) for the next state budget. Each agency submits an LAR highlighting priorities and strategies for carrying out their mission over the next two years. Legislators take those requests into consideration as they prepare to introduce budgets at the beginning of the legislative session.
A couple of key indicators have recently shown that the Texas economy is slowing down.
Because we have wisely decided as a state not to have an income tax, the sales tax is a primary revenue source for education, transportation and other services the state provides. But in six of the last nine months, sales tax collections declined compared to last year.