DALLAS -- Texas will pare its planned note sale to $800 million because the state closed fiscal 1991 last week with a near-record $1.005 billion cash balance.
Texas Treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchinson said the state has revised what was expected to be a $1 billion tax and revenue anticipation note sale on Sept. 18 because the state ended the fiscal year on Aug. 31 with about $300 million more than projected.
"We're having a good year financially, and I think this is going to be a good cushion going into the 1992 fiscal year," she said in an interview. The increase was attributed to higher sales taxes and oil and gas tax collections linked to rises in the price of crude oil caused by the Persian Gulf crisis.
The latest cash balance is barely off the record $1.006 billion balance with which the state closed fiscal 1983. It also marks the second consecutive year of near-record yearend fund balances.
Mrs. Hutchison had earlier said a number of revenue measures used to balance the state's $59.1 billion budget would not generate funds until the second half of the two-year budget cycle. Because of that, she said, the state might have the larger of the two programs this fall.
Now, the treasurer said, next year could require a full $1.5 billion note program. A cash management program that large would be a record for Texas, which began note sales five years ago to ensure even cash flow for the state during the coming year. The note programs do not finance a deficit.
George Leung, managing director for state ratings at Moody's Investors Service, said Texas last year ended fiscal 1990 with a $700 million balance. He said this year's improvement is about 8% ahead of original revenue estimates.
"What we focus on is that trend that leads to that $1 billion" balance, he said. "It is just building on the strength of the cash position of the state."
Hyman Grossman, managing director at Standard & Poor's Corp., agreed, but he said the cash balance is only one indicator of now the double-A rated state is doing.
"It's purely a snapshot of Aug. 31," he said. "I think it reflects primarily the economy, which is doing better than in most other places."
Mr. Grossman said that although Texas had a $700 million cash balance a year ago, auditis also showed a $525 million deficit in the undesignated fund, when generally accepted accounting principles are applied.
"They seem to stress the cash situation in Texas," he said, later adding, "But in some places, both cash and GAAP are in bad shape."
Two weeks ago, the state's Cash Management Note Committee authorized the Treasury to sell up to $1.5 billion of 12-month notes at any one time during the next two-year budget cycle, which ends Aug. 31, 1993.
The treasurer yesterday met with potential investors and investment bankers in an informational meeting in Houston. She will host similar meetings today at 4 p.m. at the Crescent Club in Dallas and at Windows on the World in New York City next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Because the notes are backed by a pledge of revenues to the state's general fund, they have previously been rated MIG-1 by Moody's and SP1-plus by Standard & Poor's. Traditionally, that has attracted low interest rates and strong investor interest.
So far, interest is high for the downsized note program, according to Vince Matrone, senior vice president at Dallas-based Rauscher, Pierce, Refsnes Inc., the state's financial adviser for the sale. "The state notes are always well received," he said.