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‘Hard choices’ in Texas as costly lawsuits, oil bust collide

🕐 1 min read

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas budget officials are sending warnings about potential multibillion-dollar losses in major court cases at a time when the oil bust is already shrinking the state’s formerly flush coffers.

The head of the state Legislative Budget Board told lawmakers Tuesday that “hard choices” await because of lawsuits against the state, plunging oil prices and unpaid bills. The Legislature doesn’t reconvene until 2017 but the energy downturn has already reduced potential spending by nearly $3 billion.

The Texas Supreme Court is expected to soon rule on the school finance system after districts sued over a $5.4 billion cut to classrooms in 2011.

But Republican Comptroller Glenn Hegar insists the state’s finances are not as bleak as other oil-producing states, including Oklahoma and Louisiana, which have major budget shortfalls.

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