Senator Robert Duncan will chair the Subcommittee on Fiscal Matters, charged with finding $5 billion of nontax revenue to help balance Texas' multibillion-dollar budget shortfall. Duncan said:
"We're not looking for new taxes. If you look at the budget, you'll see there are a lot of revenue streams in the budget that are not used efficiently or for the purpose that they were originally created for, and so you don't' have to raise taxes or increase fees," he said.Inefficient revenue streams are usually eliminated. However, Texas badly needs revenue. Does "inefficient" mean "sold or leased to the private sector." Toll roads, parking, ports, the Texas Lottery and even water could be up on the sale/lease block. Billions in infrastructure funds stand ready and waiting for public-private partnerships (P3). Uncle Sam stands ready and willing to lever them. The question is how cheap they will go and what monopoly protections might the state or feds provide?
Texas is in the P3 crosshairs.
US P3 Key Market Watch: TexasTwo storied Texas law firms have experience with P3's, BakerBotts and Vincent & Elkins. I expect their business to boom after this legislative session.
It will be interesting to hear what Senator Duncan's committee finds. I know where they can find $7 million plus interest over the coming biennium. The state could hold Vought Aircraft Industries to their original Texas Enterprise Fund commitment. Perry doesn't have to answer for changing the deal. Why am I not surprised?
Update 3-20-11: Traffic cameras could be in Texas' revenue generating future.
Update 3-30-11: So could gambling.
Update 4-1-11: The setup for toll roads.