A drop in property values costs the state, which must send money to school districts to make up for the decrease. Texas is already facing a staggering budget shortfall estimated as high as $21 billion. It was not clear Friday whether the Combs letter would push the shortfall even higher or if those projecting the shortfall had already factored the drop into their math.
Financial consultant Joe Wisnoski of Moak Casey and Associates told the Quorum Report on Friday that the drop in property values could cost the state between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion.
Combs also tallied up job losses. She wrote, “The Texas economy, while not as hard hit as most other states, has been severely impacted by the recession, with the payroll work force contracting by 4.1 percent — or 431,000 employees — peak to trough, and a sharp decline in consumer confidence and spending.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White and others in his party have said Gov. Rick Perry and other state leaders are trying to hide the state’s bad budget news. Friday’s action by Combs should give fuel to the Democrats’ argument, considering that she quietly distributed the letter on the Friday afternoon before the Texas-Oklahoma game.
And Gov. Perry doesn’t seem to mind. Here’s Perry talking about unemployment in Texas.