AUSTIN, Texas -

Gov. Rick Perry is backing $1.6 billion in business tax cuts, even though he concedes it may mean tapping Texas' once-untouchable cash reserves.

During a Monday visit to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Perry said close to 100,000 businesses could see lower taxes under his plan.

He added it may be necessary to finance the cuts using the state's Rainy Day Fund.

That was a dramatic departure from two years ago, when Perry -- looking to solidify his tea party credentials as he prepared for an unsuccessful presidential run -- said the reserve funds shouldn't be touched under almost any circumstances.

Perry opened Texas' legislative session urging the use of a surplus of funds sparked by the state's booming economy on "tax relief."

Those cuts haven't materialized so far.