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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Texas brightens budget outlook but warns of trade war risks

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Rising oil prices and economic growth have Texas officials projecting a bigger financial cushion to pay for Hurricane Harvey, school safety and health services for the poor.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Wednesday raised his revenue estimate by nearly $3 billion. He warned that a trade war or a U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement could sour that outlook between now and January.

That’s when the Texas Legislature will return to Austin facing a list of big expenses. Lawmakers underfunded Medicaid by more than $2 billion and bills remain from Hurricane Harvey.

Teachers are also expected to pressure the GOP-controlled Legislature for money in the wake of protests by educators across the country.

Hegar says sales tax collections in Texas are up 10 percent from a year ago.

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