Comptroller certifies budget, reports extra $2.5B

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The state's chief accountant says a booming Texas economy has created an extra $2.5 billion in unspent revenue.

Republican Comptroller Susan Combs on Thursday delivered lawmakers a report certifying the 2014 to 2015 state budget passed this spring. The spending included restoring most of the $5.4 billion slashed by the Legislature in 2011 to close a massive budget shortfall.

Combs said oil and gas exploration are driving the state's fiscal fortunes. She also expects the state's Rainy Day Fund to have a balance of about $8 billion by the end of 2015.

Combs, who isn't seeking re-election next year, has been criticized for giving lawmakers overly conservative revenue estimates that impact their spending decisions. Budget-writers returned to the Capitol this spring greeted with an extra $8.8 billion in unspent revenue.

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