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Extra Cash Should Go to Paying Debt, Otto Says

State Rep. John Otto wants a constitutional amendment requiring that excess cash in the state's Rainy Day Fund be used to pay off state debt early.

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

Any extra cash sloshing around in the state's savings account would be used to retire debt early under a proposed constitutional filed by a state representative Thursday.

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, filed House Joint Resolution 8, calling for a constitutional change to the state's Rainy Day Fund. When the fund accumulates more money than its constitutional cap, which is 10 percent of the general revenue budget, the excess money would be placed in a dedicated account that could be used only for retiring state debt early. Currently, any excess goes into the general revenue fund. 

At the end of the 2014 fiscal year, total outstanding state debt was about $44 billion. 

Otto emphasized that the fund would only be used for paying off debt early, not ongoing debt payments. 

“The falling oil prices pointed out that great economic times don’t last forever,” Otto said. “When that spillover occurs, the best use of that money is to early retire debt.” 

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Economy Budget Rainy Day Fund