The state's budget outlook is improving and lawmakers will have more money to spend than they thought, Comptroller Susan Combs said in a letter to legislative leaders today.

From her letter:

In recent months, sales tax receipts have shown increasing strength and, now halfway through the fiscal year, it is clear that fiscal 2011 collections will exceed my current estimate.

I am raising my fiscal year 2011 estimate of sales tax revenue by $300 million, thereby improving this year's ending General Revenue balance by that amount. Accordingly, the total amount available for certification for the 2012-13 biennium is raised to $72.5 billion.

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That's a relatively small amount in the overall scheme of things, but it's significant. And it's early in the session for a comptroller to cough up extra money, perhaps a sign that the economy will be better than lawmakers expect.

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