Just ask a Republican state legislator why $6 billion of taxpayer money sits in the bank as teachers lose their jobs. The likely answer? Because it’s already accounted for.“We’ve got to get the message right. There’s been a lot of misinformation out there that there’s $6 billion in the fund that’s not been used. It’s been used,” said Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock and no relation to the governor.Lawmakers have already drawn down $3.1 billion of the fund’s roughly $9.5 billion reserve to cover a deficit in the current budget. Then, to make the 2012-2013 budget balance, the state’s projected share of expected Medicaid costs is underfunded by $4.8 billion — for many, a conservative estimate.
That means when lawmakers come back in two years — and without a change in federal law diminishing the state’s obligation to Medicaid or an increase in Rainy Day revenue from an improved economy — they will need most of the remaining $6 billion to pay another past due bill.