News & Press: Member Update

ACEC Texas Member Update - July 24, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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ACEC Texas

Member Update

July 24, 2020

Thank You! ACEC Texas & ACEC National
Political Advocacy Briefing & Available Video

Thank you to all who joined us for this week’s ACEC Texas & ACEC National Political Advocacy Briefing. We had an informative and interactive discussion on important state and federal legislation and policies affecting the engineering community, the 2020 election cycle, and the grassroots political efforts and outlook as we move forward in responding to COVID-19. If you missed this week’s briefing, you can watch the recorded video by clicking on the following link: ACEC National & ACEC Texas Political Advocacy Briefing Video.

The ACEC Texas Public Policy Council (PPC) will continue to hold regular meetings and briefings with legislators as we approach the 2021 Legislative Session. If you and your firm would like a copy of this week's briefing presentation, or for more information on joining the PPC and to be a part of these ongoing political advocacy discussions, please contact Scott Stewart, Vice President for Legislative Affairs, at or (512) 497-8847.

Comptroller Hegar Releases Revised CRE – Projects $4.58 Budget Shortfall

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar this week revised the Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE) and now projects a fiscal 2021 ending shortfall of $4.58 billion. The shortfall,which Hegar attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent volatility in oil prices, is a decrease from the $2.89 billion positive year-end balance originally projected in the October 2019 CRE. In a July 20 letter to state leadership, Hegar said the state will have $110.19 billion in General Revenue-related (GR-R) funds available for general-purpose spending for the 2020-21 biennium, down from a projected $121.76 billion in the October 2019 CRE.

Brief Overview of the State Budget: The Texas Legislature is bound by the Texas Constitution to pass a balanced two-year budget each legislative session. The current state budget was passed during the 2019 legislative session for fiscal years 2020-2021 (NOTE: Texas fiscal years run from Sept. 1 – Aug. 31st). The legislature develops and approves the budget based on revenue estimates from the Comptroller. If, during the interim between legislative sessions, the Comptroller revises the revenue estimate so that there are less funds than originally anticipated (as he has recently done), the legislature will be required to make up the difference by passing a supplemental appropriations bill at the beginning of the 2021 session to backfill the anticipated shortfall.

What Does the Comptroller’s Announcement Mean? This week’s revised estimate from Comptroller Hegar means legislators will need to backfill an anticipated $4.58 billion funding shortfall for the current 2020-2021 budget when the session begins in January.In addition, the legislature will be faced with crafting the next biennial budget (2022-2023) with significantly less revenue than they had last time, but that revenue estimate will not be available until closer to January.

What Does that Mean for Transportation Funding (State Highway Fund)?

  • Proposition 1 Funding: The Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF, or the state's “Rainy Day Fund”) and the State Highway Fund (SHF) both receive funding from oil and natural gas severance taxes. In FY 2021, the ESF and SHF each will receive $1.1 billion in transfers from the General Revenue Fund for severance taxes collected in fiscal 2020. Severance tax collections in FY 2021 are expected to drop significantly from FY 2020, resulting in smaller FY 2022 transfers to the ESF and SHF of about $620 million each.
  • Proposition 7 Funding: Proposition 7 requires the first $2.5 billion in sales tax collections exceeding $28 billion in any fiscal year to be deposited to the SHF. This year, the SHF will receive $2.5 billion from sales taxes collected in FY 2021, although the final transfer will not occur until September 2021.


Texas Department of Transportation


2021 UTP Draft : A reminder that the 2021 TxDOT Unified Transportation Program (UTP) draft is now available for review and can viewed by clicking on the following link: 2021 UTP Draft. The UTP is TxDOT’s 10-year plan that guides transportation project development across the state. Organized into 12 funding categories, with each one addressing a specific type of work, the UTP authorizes the distribution of construction dollars expected to be available over the next 10 years. Within the UTP framework, TxDOT works with elected officials, local planning organizations, and the public to select and fund the state’s highest priority transportation projects. Public Comment: The UTP public comment period will be open until Monday, August 10th at 4:00 PM. A virtual public hearing will be conducted on July 28, 2020 at 10:00 AM.You can make a public comment using a form provided here: Public Comment Form.

Texas Water Development Board

Board Approves Fall 2020 Bond Sale for SWIRFT: The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved on Thursday the issuance of revenue bonds to support the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund (SWIRF) for Texas program. SWIFRT bonds are issued to provide financial assistance to political subdivisions for projects included in the State Water Plan through TWDB’s State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program.

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