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AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) — Although the estimate for Texas revenue for the past year is negative $1 billion, it’s actually better than Comptroller Glenn Hegar expected.

Hegar joins the Texas Tribune at 8 a.m. CST Thursday for an interview with Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey.

After the Jan. 11 announcement of Texas’ revenue estimate and just before the start of the 2021 legislative session, Hegar will discuss the details of his estimate, how much money legislators have to work with over the next two years, how COVID-19 and the economic downturn impacted the estimate, and what it may mean for the state budget.

In November, Hegar told lawmakers that the financial forecast for the 2021 legislative session wasn’t as dire as he’d expected over the summer. But Hegar did not outline specifics as state revenues continue to suffer from the economic recession spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hegar also told lawmakers that sales tax revenues — the state’s single largest source of funding — fell by 4.8% in the second half of the 2020 fiscal year compared with the same stretch in 2019. It was a much softer hit than he anticipated, thanks to Texans staying home and spending money on “staycations instead of vacations.”

Lawmakers will still have to navigate a tricky budget in this year’s legislative session, during a period when large numbers of Texans continue to struggle through a pandemic and an economic recession.

Hegar, who was elected comptroller in 2014, serves as Texas’ treasurer, check writer, tax collector, procurement officer and revenue estimator. Previously, he served as a member of the Texas Senate and House.

This conversation will be livestreamed starting at 8 a.m. Central on Thursday, Jan. 14, here and on the KXAN Facebook page.

This conversation is presented by Lone Star College and supported by DoorDash, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, TEXAS 2036, Raise Your Hand Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas Association of School Business Officials and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

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