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July 10, 2013
Comptroller Susan Combs Returns $1 Billion to Texas Unclaimed Property Owners

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced today she has returned $1 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since she took office in 2007. This is the largest sum of money ever returned by a Texas Comptroller.

Sound clips from Comptroller Combs’ press conference follow:

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Property #1 :18 Outcue: “lots of other sources” “People say what is unclaimed property. Well it’s a lot of stuff. It is in individual Texans’ and other folks names. Its in businesses and its money from inactive bank accounts, insurance proceeds. It may be an apartment deposit it may be from safety deposits, securities and lots of other sources.

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Property #2 : 11 Outcue: “in our coffers” “This unclaimed property is your money and its your money either as an individual or as an enterprise and we suspect it will work better in your wallet than sitting here in our coffers.’

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Property #3 :10 Outcue: “here in office” “Today we mark the cumulative return of $1 billion in the six and a half years that I’ve been here in office.”

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Property #4 :14 Outcue: “back in 1962” “The billion dollars is more than was returned in the entire 44 years prior to my taking office since the program first started giving money back in 1962.”

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Property #5 :08 Outcue: “back to you” “This $1 billion and counting is important but it’s just going to incentivize us to go find more ways to get money to give back to you.”

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Property #6 :09 Outcue: “Canon and Jett” “Greg Reddish his claim includes the billionth dollar paid. He’s joined by his wonderful wife Christy and his sons Canon and Jett.

February 7, 2013
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Joins Legislative Leadership to Announce Government Transparency, Pension Legislation

Transparency + Pension Legislation #1 :11 Outcue: “of the public” "People need to know what their government is doing and how it spends their money. We need to implement common sense changes that put vital information about government spending and debt in front of the public."

Transparency + Pension Legislation #2 :09 Outcue: “in more debt” "Voters must know how much debt they are carrying and how much debt service they are currently paying before they choose to vote in more debt."

Transparency + Pension Legislation #3 :20 Outcue: “already voted down” "Furthermore, we must put limitations on government issuing debt without voter approval through certificates of obligation. Too often governments are using this process to make an end run around taxpayers wishes. This transparency legislation would prohibit the use of certificates of obligation to pay for something voters already voted down."

Transparency + Pension Legislation #4 :08 Outcue: “government accountable” "This legislation is not about judging particular types of taxing entities. It is about keeping folks informed and holding government accountable."

Transparency + Pension Legislation #5 alternate :11 Outcue: “taxpayers to find” "The pension legislation would require increased reporting for all public pension systems and calls for this information to be posted online so It is readily available and easy for taxpayers to find."

Transparency + Pension Legislation #6 :08 Outcue: “in more debt” "I am committed to making Texas transparent and our books open, accessible and understandable and look forward to seeing this legislation enacted."

January 7, 2013
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Releases Biennial Revenue Estimate

Full audio of the Revenue Estimate news conference (159 KB, MP3)

Read the full transcript.

Revenue Estimate #1 :10 Outcue: "101.4 billion" "When you add the numbers, the general revenue available for certification in 2014 and 15 is 101.4 Billion."

Revenue Estimate #2 :14 Outcue: "2012-2013 biennium" "Robust revenue collections driven forward strongly by a recovering Texas economy and led by sales taxes will result in a budget surplus at the end of the current 2012-2013 biennium."

Revenue Estimate #3 :12 Outcue: "that's happened recently" "We would all do well to remember the dramatic drop in revenues that occurred during the recession just as we recognize the dramatic and sharp increase that’s happened recently."

Revenue Estimate #4 :14 Outcue: "moderate sustained growth" “The outlook that I’m releasing today for both state revenue and the economic picture is for continuing expansion as the fast growth period of an economic recovery gives way to a moderate sustained growth.”

December 4, 2012
Comptroller Susan Combs Announces Final Report in the Texas, It’s Your Money Series Along with Recommendations for Legislative Leadership

Full audio of the Pension Report news conference (11.1 MB, MP3)

Read the full transcript.

Pension Report #1 :11 Outcue: “kept in the dark” “The Texans I talked to were all very frustrated by not being able to find out this information easily and they expressed real anger about feeling that the debter was being kept in the dark.”

Pension Report #2 :12 Outcue: “have some control” “One point to made is that there is a common theme running through these reports which is it’s all about your money and how you as individuals can have some control”

Pension Report #3 :08 Outcue: “have some control” “Texans are concerned about Washington’s spending practices as they should be, we can and must do better here in Texas.”

Pension Report #4 :10 Outcue: “pays the freight” “What comes through all of these reports is a set of recommendations which shows where we can do better in the state in talking straight to the taxpayer who ultimately pays the freight.”

January 10, 2011
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the state’s Biennial Revenue Estimate showing the state is projected to have $72.2 billion available for general-purpose spending during the 2012-13 biennium.

Full audio of the Biennial Revenue Estimate news conference (4.95 MB, MP3)

Read the full transcript.

BRE 2011 #1 :15 Outcue: “budget deliberations” (MP3, 232 KB) “The outlook I am releasing today, for both state revenue and the economic picture, is for tempered growth. And I would urge lawmakers to continue their historical practice of careful budget deliberations.”

BRE 2011 #2 :11 Outcue: “curtail spending” (MP3, 173 KB) “I want to commend the state’s leadership & their foresight approximately a year ago sending the first instructions for state agencies to curtail spending.”

BRE 2011 #3 :10 Outcue: “current biennium” (MP3, 161 KB) “Offsetting the estimated revenue collections is a projected negative $4.3 billion ending balance for the current biennium.”

BRE 2011 #4 :11 Outcue: “couple of years” (MP3, 179 KB) “The reason for this negative balance was the weakened economy and its impact on sales tax and other major revenue sources during the last couple of years.”

BRE 2011 #5 :13 Outcue: “savings rate” (MP3, 199 KB) “During the recent recession, all across Texas, consumers and businesses didn’t spend money, thereby lowering tax revenues, and they also showed a marked increase in their savings rate.”

BRE 2011 #6 :09 Outcue: “broad based” (MP3, 143 KB) “It appears the state’s economy has turned the corner; however, signs of sustained and robust growth are not yet broad-based.”

BRE 2011 #7 :07 Outcue: “of the country” (MP3, 111 KB) “The state has not been immune to the economic forces wreaking havoc in other sections of the country.”

January 12, 2009
Comptroller Susan Combs’ Biennial Revenue Estimate Reflects Today’s Economic Climate

Full audio of the Biennial Revenue Estimate news conference (15.8 MB, MP3)

Read the full transcript.

December 3, 2008
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Initiates “Open Book Texas” to Ensure Tax Dollars Go Farther in Challenging Economic Times

  • Open Book #1 (MP3, 247 KB) 0:16 “As Texans tighten their belts in this uncertain economic climate, the transparency initiatives we are discussing will allow the state to do the same. Families are cutting their expenses and looking for ways to save and state government must follow their example.”
  • Open Book #2 (MP3, 216 KB) 0:14 “I made this push for spending transparency when the economy was percolating and growing knowing that the day would come when we would need to tighten our belt and stretch tax dollars further. That time has come.”
  • Open Book #3 (MP3, 345 KB) 0:22 “For government to be accountable with your money, it must be open. Transparency leads to efficiency. When government operates in the sunshine, agencies have to justify their priorities and expenditures. To ensure that their government is watching their dollars and cents, taxpayers in Texas should be able to review spending at all levels of government.”
  • Open Book #4 (MP3, 264 KB) 0:17 “Transparency is important because in the end there is no such thing as government money. It is only taxpayer money in government hands. Making government more transparent, efficient and responsive to citizens remains one of my chief goals as your Comptroller.”
  • Open Book #5 (MP3, 156 KB) 0:10 “We need to be sure we’re showing the same common sense, resourcefulness and prudence when spending money as the hardworking citizens of the Lone Star State.”

September 10, 2008
Comptroller Susan Combs Texas Tuition Promise Fund press conference

Full audio of the news conference (9.4 MB, MP3)

May 6, 2008
Comptroller Susan Combs Energy Report press conference

  • Energy #1 :33 Outcue: "the United States"
    • We're lucky in this we have abundant reserves of natural gas and coal to generate electricity. We've had uranium deposits to fuel nuclear power. We also have an abundance of many types of renewable fuels such as wind and solar, and we're going to need to rely on a mix of all of these energy sources and improved efficiency. But it's also clear that traditional fossil fuels will continue to be our primary source of energy for many years to come, both in this state and the United States.
  • Energy #2 :11 Outcue: "Texas energy"
    • This energy report offers, I think, groundbreaking analysis of federal, state and local financial subsidies for the fuels sources used to generate Texas energy.
  • Energy #3 :12 Outcue: "variety of energy sources"
    • We lead the nation right now in renewable energy potential, and we have the resources right now and the technical expertise to take advantage of a wide variety of energy sources.
  • Energy #4 :07 Outcue: "for decades"
    • Texas is the nation's energy leader. We're the leader in energy production, we've been that way for decades.
  • Energy #5 :09 Outcue: "of energy"
    • Our population here in the state is expected increasing for decades to come, and our economic growth will depend on the availability of energy.
  • Energy #6 :16 Outcue: "around the world"
    • One thing important about Texas is that we have a very, very high concentration of energy-intensive industries. About 50% of the energy consumed in our state is used by industries powering the Texas Economy and making products used around the world.
  • Energy #7 :12 Outcue: "we will need"
    • Now what is the Energy Report? Well, it's a compilation of factual and objective information to guide Texans in developing the new energy resources we will need.

March 23, 2007
Comptroller Susan Combs Releases Report on Obesity

Full audio of the news conference. (3.2 MB, MP3)
Text Version

  • Sound bite 1 :06 outcue: "overweight or obese"
    • Comptroller Susan Combs reports the percentage of overweight Texans.
      "Nearly two thirds of adult Texans, 64.1% are overweight or obese."
  • Sound bite 2 :11 outcue: "and central Texas"
    • Comptroller Susan Combs gives the geographic breakdown of the number of obese Texans.
      "The highest percentage of obesity is in the valley, region 11, with about 37.4% and then lowest is across the west and central Texas."
  • Sound bite 3 :10 outcue: "0-5 period"
    • Comptroller Susan Combs reports the number of overweight 4th graders in Texas.
      "Forty two percent of Texas 4th graders already today are either overweight or at risk for overweight and that was for the 04-05 period."
  • Sound bite 4 :07 outcue: "years ago"
    • Comptroller Susan Combs reports the obesity cost to Texas private employers.
      "Obesity today costs Texas businesses an estimated 3.3 billion dollars, and that was 2 years ago."
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