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Posts Tagged ‘Dale Craymer’

Turner seeks a way to get around Public Integrity Unit de-funding

Rep. Sylvester Turner takes aim at one of Perry’s vetoes. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said he would propose a House Concurrent Resolution advocating restoration of funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office, which was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry last week. […] This morning on the floor of the […]

Time once again to talk about expanded gambling

There’s a legislative session coming up, right? That can only mean one thing: A new effort to expand gambling in Texas. Track and gaming interests say voters should be allowed to decide whether to give Texas a shot at the benefits of $2.5 billion they say is wagered in surrounding states annually by Texans. “They […]

When is a surplus not a surplus?

When any extra money you might have is already accounted for, due to unaddressed needs, accounting shenanigans, and shortsighted cuts. Some lawmakers and budget experts expect to have as much as $8 billion to $9 billion more in general revenue in this fiscal period, which ends Aug. 31. Some are guessing lower. Combs will give […]

Once more with the margins tax and the Supreme Court

Here we go again. The Texas Supreme Court could blow a hole in the state’s budget if it finds the business tax unconstitutional, as pressed Tuesday in a lawsuit led by food giant Nestlé USA. “The Legislature can’t violate the constitution to promote even a legitimate interest,” said attorney Peter A. Nolan, arguing on Nestlé’s […]

State revenues inching up

A little bit of good news. State coffers will be bit plumper than previously expected, Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday, but her outlook for the Texas economy is less optimistic. Texas is estimated to collect $1.6 billion more than was budgeted for 2012-13, the two-year budget that started Sept. 1. The comptroller’s report provides the […]

Supreme Court upholds margins tax

The days of the much-unloved business margins tax may be numbered, but it won’t be the Supreme Court that is responsible for its demise. The Texas Supreme Court turned back a challenge to the state’s primary business tax, saying it doesn’t violate a constitutional ban on personal income taxes. The Constitution allows personal income taxes […]

Going through the couch cushions

“Taxes” may be a dirty word, but the Lege is busy looking for revenue in other places. “Right now, there is a tremendous amount of effort being invested in identifying new revenues that avoid being called a tax bill,” said Dale Craymer of the business-based Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. “Politically, a lot of members […]

More on Combs v. Perry over Amazon

The Trib has a good story that explains the background of the Perry-Combs smackdown over Amazon. There’s another player in this fight, and they’re on the Comptroller’s side: Retailers who charge sales taxes employ thousands of Texans, and some of those sellers are in tough financial straits. Giving a price advantage to their out-of-state rivals […]

You can cut services, but you can’t reduce the demand for them

Another look at what we’ll be facing next year. With state leaders saying the November election sent a no-new-taxes, lean-government message, no program is expected to escape the knife – including education and health and human services, which take up the bulk of state dollars. For some programs, the budget crunch will mean spending cuts. […]

Do we or do we not have a structural deficit?

In this corner, State Rep. Mike Villarreal: In a kerfuffle involving two House members who really like to engage in detailed discussions of Texas’ tax system, Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, sent reporters a letter in which he told Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, that he couldn’t sign a special money panel’s interim report because it […]

Prison health care

Just another dimension to the complex budget picture. An early casualty of impending state budget cuts could be the health care contract that serves most of Texas’ 154,000 prison convicts. Top officials at the University of Texas System, whose Galveston medical branch provides the health services, are threatening to cancel the contract because legislative budget-writers […]

Feel the fees

The Trib reviews the bidding from the 2003 legislative session as a preview for what’s to come next year. The 2003 session most closely mirrors the current scenario — a national recession, a previous budget balanced with the use of one-time funds — and remains fresh in political minds. Then, the Legislature turned to deep […]

How are you going to balance the budget?

If you’re thinking that the candidates for Governor are being a bit vague about how they’re going to deal with the looming budget shortfall, you’re not alone. Texas expects a shortfall of at least $12 billion when lawmakers meet to write the next budget, but major candidates for governor have few specifics on how they […]

Sales tax collections keep going down

That sound you hear is the budget writers gnashing their teeth. In more grim news for Texas’ budget, state Comptroller Susan Combs said Friday that monthly sales tax collections are down again, the eighth straight month of double-digit declines. Collections for January — the period that reflects December holiday shopping — were down by 14.2 […]

The Speaker knows what we’re up against

I’m sure House Speaker Joe Straus is looking ahead to the 2011 session and stockpiling the Maalox and Excedrin. Among the “interim charges” to 31 committees handed out by Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio – issues for lawmakers to study and consider – are examinations of tax changes that could boost state revenue and reinvigorate […]

Did I mention that we’re facing a revenue shortfall?

In case I haven’t beaten this horse beyond recognition yet, the stimulus money really saved our budgetary bacon this year, and without something equally dramatic, we are so screwed in 2011. “It was a deficit budget as written,” said Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), who chaired the Appropriations subcommittee on Education. As soon as legislators knew how […]

The budget mess that awaits the next Governor

We already know that the next Legislative session will be a whole lot of no fun thanks to declining revenue estimates and our structural deficits. Here’s a further illustration of the problem. The current state budget is financed with $12 billion of one-time money (add to the stimulus money several billion the Legislature wisely socked […]

The biennial budget shuffle

In addition to billions of stimulus dollars, the budget this year relied on some old tricks to get certified as balanced. Nearly $3.7 billion in levies collected for everything from fighting air pollution to helping low-income people with their electric bills to funding trauma care will instead help balance the state’s upcoming two-year budget. The […]