Republican puts Rainy Day Fund on the table

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is ready to tap the state's Rainy Day Fund, a surprise suggestion considering most conservatives have fought to preserve it.

Gov. Rick Perry has made maintaining the fund's $8.2 billion a top priority. Yet Dewhurst thinks lawmakers should consider taking $1 billion to start a "water infrastructure development bank."

Tapping the fund to create a bank is in keeping with Republican policies. Perry tapped the Rainy Day Fund to create his Texas Enterprise Fund in 2003 and his Emerging Technology Fund in 2005.

The bank could become a self-sustaining way to prevent water shortages. A water plan approved last year by the Texas Water Development Board said the state should eventually spend $53 billion over the next half-century on new reservoirs, dams, pipelines and wells.

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