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Should Texas Use 'Rainy Day' Fund for Water Projects?

Shoal Creek drought @ Lamar and 15th St By Daniel Reese - 01.jpg
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Should Texas take money from the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund for water projects? It’s an idea that will get a closer look today.

Lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposal. The bill would set aside $2 billion from the economic stabilization or "Rainy Day" fund for water projects.

The bill’s author – Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) – says prolonged statewide drought has revealed the importance of developing a dedicated source of revenue for the state’s water plan.

"It is vital for the future of Texas that a dedicated source of revenue be established for funding the State Water Plan," Ritter says in a press release. "Our economy depends on it, our communities depend on it, and ultimately, our daily lives depend on it."

Ritter says $2 billion would be enough to fully implement the State Water Plan. Spending would be directed by the Texas Water Development Board.

Several lawmakers have spoken out in support of the plan. House Bill 11 has 13 co-authors. House Speaker Joe Straus also commended the plan and Gov. Rick Perry supported the idea in his State of the State address.

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