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Rainy Day Fund Could Be Invested More Aggressively

The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed a measure granting Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar more flexibility to invest a portion of the $8 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, sending the bill to the governor's desk.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar

The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed a measure granting Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar more flexibility to invest a portion of the $8 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, sending the bill to the governor's desk.

The comptroller typically invests state funds in safe assets that yield modest rates of return. House Bill 903, which passed the Senate without debate, would direct the comptroller to begin investing a portion of the Rainy Day Fund in higher-risk, higher-reward assets — an idea Hegar vouched for in February.

“We have the most conservative strategy right now, and the question is, should we move that slightly?” he asked during a speech at the Bond Buyer’s Texas Public Finance Conference in Austin. 

The Rainy Day Fund, which consists largely of revenue from oil and gas taxes, was created in 1988 as a piggy bank to be used in case of state funding emergencies. But as the fund has grown, some have suggested investing excess money more aggressively when there’s more than enough to pay for an unforeseen disaster.

The measure, authored by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, passed the House last month. It was carried by state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, in the Senate.

“Right now we’re leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table, and I don’t know how you rationalize that that makes sense," Taylor told The Texas Tribune in February.

The bill now awaits Gov. Greg Abbott's signature.

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