HOUSTON - Texas lawmakers will have a lot of money to comb through in January.
State Comptroller Glenn Hegar tells FOX 26 that he predicts an extra $27 billion will be available in the state surplus - all due to inflation, and high tax revenues.
"The economy in the last year and a half has been phenomenal here in Texas," says Hegar. "Unfortunately, the average individual businesses are still paying substantially more every single day and every single month for the same items that they were a year ago."
Hegar also says disruptions in the global economy, like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, could potentially make that number even larger.
Despite the instability, Hegar says Texas continues to outperform the majority of the United States.
Lawmakers will also have $13.6 billion available in savings, known as their "rainy day fund" - making this upcoming surplus historical.
When Hegar initially announced his predictions over the summer, he recommended the extra surplus dollars be spent on infrastructure - roads, water, and electrical grid included.
"Our population is 30 million," says Hegar. "We're going to grow roughly another 20 million between now and 2050. When you go and you turn on your tap, you don't think much about it. But we have to make sure that water is there."
Lowering property taxes was also on his laundry list to the legislators - something candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor all agree on doing, but with different approaches to tackling the issue.
One group in Texas is hoping some extra funds will pour into their budget.
The Texas Federation of Teachers released a report in April 2022 that shows salaries of Texas public school teachers have fallen by an average of 4% over the past 11 years when adjusted for inflation. It also reports public school teachers in Texas make an average of $7,449 less than the national average teacher salary.
"I think part of these revenues are also there because of their reflection on how much we've cut public education," says Texas AFT President Zeph Capo.
He also says educators have yet to recover from major budget cuts made in 2011, and teacher salaries have not been enough to keep qualified educators with transferable skills in the classroom.
"The fact that teachers across the state can find jobs elsewhere, particularly after the pandemic when people were angry, and they got mad at teachers and the school district rather than the people in power. They basically said, "If you don't like it, then go ahead and leave." Well, they did because they have skills."
Hegar says he's confident he'll see some bipartisanship in the upcoming legislature, with a fair distribution of funds that benefits the entire state.
"We need to be fiscally responsible for the constituents and the taxpayers of the state of Texas. And yes, I think at the beginning and the end of the legislative session, the legislature will do exactly that," says Hegar.