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Posts under ‘Budget ballyhoo’

What’s the Lege going to do with the revenue?

Not as much as it should, of course, because the Lege never comes close to doing as much as it should. It’s a question of whether they’ll try to address some real problems, or just engage in an orgy of tax cutting. Texans can expect tax relief, a laser focus on border security and more […]

Even Rick Perry thinks the slash and burn crowd is nuts

Insert pithy quote about reaping and sowing here. Gov. Rick Perry shot back Monday at conservative critics who say the state budget is growing too fast, offering the clearest signal yet that he plans to sign the two-year, $197 billion appropriations bill into law. The governor noted that he is still analyzing the legislation and […]

Budget time in Houston

Houston City Council has begun the process of debating Mayor Parker’s budget for the next fiscal year by proposing 60 amendments to it. Parker’s budget would spend $4.5 billion, including fee-supported enterprise funds such as the aviation department and utility systems, and is a 6.4 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The proposed general […]

We appear to have a budget

Took them long enough. After days of jockeying and one-upsmanship, the Texas House and Senate each approved measures Wednesday evening critical to passing their next two-year budget. “The results of these two bills together is a good conservative budget, and it’s something we can all be proud of,” said Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The […]

Budget deal reached

And the crowd goes wild. Top House and Senate negotiators agreed to a two-year budget for the state of Texas Friday that restores about $4 billion of $5.4 billion in cuts to public education made in 2011. It also creates a path for lawmakers to put $2 billion toward water infrastructure projects. The five House […]

From the “Tax breaks for me but not for thee” department

There are two types of people in Texas: Those for whom the tax code is written to favor, and everybody else. The Dallas Country Club, not a place usually thought of as needing a huge tax break, used a quirk in state law to reduce its taxable value by nearly half. Valero, one of the […]

Maybe I buried Medicaid expansion too soon

I still think it’s dead, but I could be wrong about that. The fate of Medicaid reform in Texas could rest solely on an up-or-down vote on the 2014-15 budget. State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, a member of the conference committee that is hashing out the differences between the House and Senate budget plans, said […]

Perry works against his own stated interests

I don’t understand this at all. A bill that would have increased vehicle registration fees to raise money for transportation projects met its demise in the Texas House on Thursday. House Bill 3664 by state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, was designed to generate money to pay down the state’s transportation-related debt and fund improvements […]

Margins tax breaks passed

Someone’s getting a tax break. Probably not you, though. The Texas House on Tuesday tentatively cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s primary business tax — cuts that proponents say will keep the Texas economy humming and opponents argue cost too much. House Bill 500 is the primary legislative vehicle to address the […]

Weekend legislative threefer

That sound you heard on Friday was Rick Perry stamping his feet if he doesn’t get his way. Gov. Rick Perry is warning state legislators that it could be a long, hot summer in Austin if they don’t pass his top priorities: funding water and transportation projects and cutting business taxes. With a month left […]

Senate officially taps the Rainy Day Fund

Well done. Texas senators hammered out a sweeping deal to increase state funding for water and transportation projects and schools on Tuesday, tackling some of the thorniest issues of the legislative session all at once. The senators voted 31-0 for Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would ask Texas voters to approve taking $5.7 billion out […]

Texas Lottery Commission dies and is reborn

And we have our first curveball of the legislative session. The House voted Tuesday to defeat a must-pass bill reauthorizing the Texas Lottery Commission, a stunning move that casts doubt on the lottery as a whole and may potentially cost the state billions in revenue. House Bill 2197 began as a seemingly routine proposal to […]

It’s always time for a tax cut

I have three things to say about this: With less than two months remaining in the 83rd legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry on Monday called on state lawmakers to find $1.6 billion to give Texas businesses relief from the state’s franchise tax. Perry’s proposal consists of four parts: reducing the overall franchise tax rates by […]

Still arguing about road funding

I still don’t quite get why the obvious solution is so blithely dismissed. With most of the work of developing a state budget behind them, lawmakers can now drill deeper into the state’s spending plan to find a way to fund billions of dollars in road maintenance, highway upgrades and other projects under the umbrella […]

Senate to tap that Rainy Day Fund

It is just sitting there, not doing any good if it’s unused. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, laid out an ambitious plan to spend $6 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund on Thursday morning while also setting the stage for a serious debate in the remaining weeks of the session on […]

House debates its budget

As you know, yesterday was Budgetpalooza in the House. The House budget puts more money into public education and less into health and human services than a Senate proposal that passed the upper chamber last month. “No one is or will be entirely happy with this bill, but there is something for everyone this year,” […]

More details on the House budget

Consider this to be written in pencil, because it’s going to change. More than $1.6 billion and disagreements on how much Texas should spend on public education and Medicaid separate the budgets proposed by the House and Senate. The Senate budget proposal, passed 29-2 by the upper chamber last week, spends $195.5 billion, a 2.9 […]

House Appropriations releases its budget outline

Better news for schools in this version. The House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Thursday to boost funding for public schools by $2.5 billion in the next two-year budget period. Schools would get an additional $500 million in the current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31, under a second proposal by Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts that […]

Why do we give tax breaks to country clubs?

As you know, I’ve talked before about sunsetting tax expenditures. Sens. John Carona and Rodney Ellis have filed a bill to require a periodic review of the many exemptions, exceptions, and other special cases in the tax code, with the aim of requiring legislative approval to renew or extend them. This is a good idea […]

Senate passes its budget

Let the damning with faint praise for this jerry-rigged excuse for not adequately funding our needs yet not eviscerating them as badly as last time begin. The Texas Senate approved a $195.5 billion two-year budget Wednesday, with Democratic state Sens. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth and Sylvia Garcia of Houston voting against the spending plan. […]

We have a budget

It is what it is. The 15 members of the Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted on Wednesday for a $195.5 billion two-year budget that undoes some of the cuts from the 2011 legislative session. The budget, which now heads to the full Senate, is 2.9 percent higher than the estimated size of the current two-year […]

Nine hundred million reasons why expanding Medicaid is a good idea

It’s all about the money. Expanding Medicaid could make available at least $900 million in state money that otherwise would be slated for health care as lawmakers work to pay for Texas’ priorities, according to an analysis released Tuesday. “More efficient health spending means there’s more money available for other needs like water and education,” […]

TSTA polls about public education

From the inbox, via the TSTA: A strong majority of Texas voters support using some of the $12 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to restore the $5.4 billion cut from the public education budget two years ago, and the support is strong across party lines, a poll commissioned by the Texas State Teachers […]

More on sunsetting tax expenditures

I say again, this is a good idea that really needs to happen. The Texas tax code is rich with tax breaks. There are tax breaks for industries relocating to the state and for anyone with an Internet connection. Tax exemptions for groceries and bottled water. Tax holidays for back-to-school supplies. Tax exemptions for golf […]

Senate committee restores some money to public education

Emphasis on the “some”. Texas public schools would get back a chunk of the $5.4 billion in state funding they lost two years ago under a budget proposal adopted by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. But they probably should not expect much more than the $1.5 billion the committee added to the 2014-15 state […]

LBB calls for expanding Medicaid

From the Quorum Report: LBB CALLS FOR FUNDING MEDICAID EXPANSION AS PART OF ITS ADDITIONAL BUDGET PRIORITIES The recommendation given to the Article II Senate Finance workgroup notes that $50.4 million in state funding would draw down $4 billion in federal match for the next budget cycle The Legislative Budget Board has included funding to extend Medicaid coverage to […]

Supplement this!

Time for the Lege to pay a few past-due bills from 2011. That’s where a supplemental budget comes in. It is literally a second budget added to the original one lawmakers approved in 2011. It’s not an unusual course for lawmakers to take to address lingering IOUs, but this year’s efforts are becoming more complicated […]

School districts are still a long way from getting relief

School districts may have gotten a favorable ruling in the latest school finance lawsuit, and if it survives appeal it could have far-reaching effects on the current system, but that doesn’t mean that things will get better for them now. If anything, they’re likely to get worse first. “It’s pretty bleak for next year,” said […]

Sunsetting tax expenditures

Sens. John Carona and Rodney Ellis have the right idea. Over the past 18 months, many of our constituents told us they have trouble finding a reliable, accurate and up-to-date source of information on these tax breaks, exemptions and special treatments — often called tax preferences or loopholes. Unfortunately, so do we. The Legislature makes […]

Yet another report saying we should expand Medicaid in Texas

It’s the fiscally responsible thing to do, in addition to being the morally correct thing to do. Expanding Medicaid is a “smart, affordable and fair” decision for Texas, according to a report issued by Billy Hamilton, a non-partisan consultant commissioned by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas and Texas Impact, a statewide interfaith network. “If […]

Another reason why spending caps are a bad idea

There are many reasons why, but this is one we haven’t encountered before. Several political observers well-versed in the state’s finances say that lawmakers could hit the state’s spending limit this session, complicating efforts to access the $11.8 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The Texas Constitution says the government can’t grow faster than […]

One place where a little austerity would do some good

Rick Perry’s slush funds get no love in the opening budgets. The House and Senate’s initial two-year budgets would force Perry’s deal-closing Texas Enterprise Fund to exhaust its last $7 million and throttle back on state film incentives and subsidies for major sporting events. The Emerging Technology Fund, which subsidizes high-tech commercial ventures, would face […]

Here come the tax cut proposals

When the sunny revenue forecast came in, we immediately got one crappy tax cut idea, to eliminate the margins tax at a cost of $4.5 billion. The Texas Association of Business didn’t care for the idea, at least at first, but are now warming up to it, because this is what they do. For Bill […]

Meet the new budget

Same as the old budget. Republican leaders in both chambers of the Legislature on Monday offered spare first drafts of the state’s next two-year budget that continue $5.4 billion in cuts to public education made last session and freeze funding for an embattled state agency set up to find a cure for cancer. Upending recent […]