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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Sales tax revenues take a dip

Don’t freak out just yet, but do be a little worried. Houston’s 53-month consecutive span of year-over-year sales tax revenue gains has come to an end, five months into an energy slump analysts said could dent the city’s economic numbers for the rest of the year. The city’s $50.1 million sales tax revenues for April, […]

Tighter spending cap defeated

I consider this to be a victory. The state’s constitutional spending cap will remain untouched this session, and House and Senate leaders are blaming each other for the lack of action on the arcane but politically important measure. Senate Republicans had sought to tighten the rules that guide how much future state budgets can grow, […]

Budget deal

What Christopher Hooks says. Texans, you can put down your pitchforks and douse your torches: The edibles you’ve squirreled away in your emergency bunkers can be safely consumed. Life can begin anew. The tax cut war between House and Senate has been resolved, which means that barring a catastrophic screw-up—say, Comptroller Glenn Hegar realizing he […]

It’s hard out here on a recycler

Whole lot of not so good in there. When Waste Management bought the plant in 2010 and converted it to handle single-bin recycling, commodity prices were high, the city was on board and Houstonians were eager to recycle. As the company introduced single-bin recycling, residents became ever more vigilant about keeping bottles, cans and newspapers […]

We’re not #1 any more!

Looks like we’re going to need some new applause lines for our elected officials. When it comes to job growth, some Rust Belt states are gaining an edge on Texas amid the fallout from plunging oil prices. In January, Texas lost its spot as the nation’s top job creator. The state ranked No. 4 with […]

The state spending cap is a stupid idea

And the Republicans want to make it worse. Texas Senate leaders on Tuesday announced another round of efforts to change the way the state determines its two-year spending limit, and keep tax cuts from counting toward the constitutional cap on spending. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick joined state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, at a […]

Economic segregation in cities

From Wonkblog: Concentrated poverty is one of the biggest problems facing cities today, as more of the urban poor become isolated in neighborhoods where the people around them are poor, too. Growing economic segregation across cities, though, is also shaped by a parallel, even stronger force: concentrated wealth. A new analysis from Richard Florida and […]

Nothing but not-so-good-times ahead

Maybe if everyone chants “This time is different than the 80s!” loudly enough it will have the talismanic effect we all hope it will. For five years, a domestic oil boom has created a bounty of high-paying jobs and a general climate of prosperity here. But as the rest country starts to see signs of […]

A slowdown in construction would be good for school districts

One potential upside to a weakening real estate market. Since the Houston Independent School District passed a historic $1.9 billion bond issue in 2012, the construction market has boomed, driving up costs and drying up labor. But now, with the recent drop in crude oil prices, district leaders say they may be able to ease […]

Hegar’s first revenue estimate is in

We’ll see how it holds up. Amid concerns that tumbling oil prices could push the Texas economy into a recession, Comptroller Glenn Hegar offered a cautiously optimistic tone on the future of the Texas economy Monday, announcing that lawmakers will have $113 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget. “Our projections are […]

Three signs of possible trouble ahead

#1 – Watch out for falling oil prices. The bedrock supporting Houston’s economy will shift in 2015, and while these tremors will not bring disaster, they will bring changes that some will find painful. The collapse of oil prices in 2014 has made it very difficult for economists, both public and private, who until recently […]

Appraisal caps back on the agenda

The idea will never die, unfortunately. No matter what the effects are. Local officials in the Houston area say they are concerned that incoming state leaders will push for tax relief measures that could limit their ability to meet the needs of fast-growing urban and suburban areas. Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has spoken of “looking at […]

Davis proposes minimum wage increase

The Chronicle buries the lede. Down in the polls and facing an opponent with a cash advantage, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis on Thursday took her campaign to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she told supporters the battle for the governor’s mansion has just begun. “No matter who you are, no matter […]

It’s a great time to be a construction worker

For most people, anyway. On a conference call earlier this month, the president of Houston-based developer Camden Property Trust described what it’s like building apartments in markets where construction is booming and skilled workers are in short supply. “It’s a catfight to get subcontractors to fully staff at your jobs,” said D. Keith Oden. He […]

The marriage equality economic boost

From Equality Texas: The Williams Institute released a report today estimating that marriage for same-sex couples in Texas would add $181.6 million to the state and local economy over a three-year period. The report predicts that 23,000 Texas couples would marry, spending an average of more than $6,000 per wedding. Up to 1,500 jobs would […]

Bell op-ed for eliminating the revenue cap

More like this, please. A decade ago, Houston voters restricted city property tax revenues to the combined rates of inflation and population increases. Like most arbitrary rules that politicians apply to math, this revenue cap sounds like a great idea until it meets the realities of a growing and expanding city. During the Great Recession, […]

Why revenue caps suck

I’ve been expecting this. Despite a booming economy that is the envy of much of the nation, the city of Houston could face hundreds of layoffs and cuts in service next year as it runs headlong into a revenue cap put in place by voters a decade ago. Mayor Annise Parker sounded the alarm Thursday […]

It’s not so cheap to live in Houston any more

It’s the downside of a hot job market and an improving national reputation for being a cool place to live. Business and city leaders often tout the Houston region as one of the most affordable markets in the country. But first-time homebuyers like the Schaefers are finding that image increasingly outdated. “We are in a […]

The Texas Miracle that wasn’t

Washington Monthly’s Phillip Longman takes a closer look at the claims made by the likes of Rick Perry about Texas’ economic success, and finds them largely wanting. Here’s a taste: It’s hard to think of any two states more different than Texas and Vermont. For one, Texas has gushers of oil and gas, while Vermont […]

How much does it cost to really live in Houston?

Good question. So what does it cost to secure an “adequate but modest living” in the Houston area? According to the Economic Policy Institute, it requires an annual income of $63,600 for a family of two adults and two children. Health care takes up the biggest chunk – $1,380 each month to pay for insurance […]

Where are all the teenage drivers?

There’s a lot less of them than there used to be. Between 2001 and 2010, Texas added only 2,578 drivers age 16 to 21 while the age group grew by more than 238,000 statewide, dropping the percentage with a license from 62.4 percent to 55.9 percent. Young adults who drive are doing so less often, […]

Cornyn says relax, we won’t do it

Texas’ senior Senator reassures us that Republicans won’t destroy the global economy in order to gain political leverage. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, said in Houston Thursday that Congress will not allow an impasse over raising the debt ceiling to result in the federal government defaulting on its spending obligations. “We will […]

City pension funds make their case

This deserves more visibility than it’s gotten. Representatives of Houston’s three employee pension boards told a Houston City Council committee Monday that the sky is not falling and pleaded with council members to be patient in examining the city’s pension obligations. The presentations from the firefighters’ pension, the municipal employees’ pension and the police pension […]

The Sports Authority’s finances are back in the news

I still have no idea whether this is something we need to worry about or not. The firm that insures the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority’s $1 billion in bonds – sold to finance the homes of the Texans, Rockets and Astros – is calling on the cash-strapped authority to bolster its depleted reserves and warning […]

Horse’s head sold separately

Shorter John Cornyn: “Unless President Obama gives us Republicans everything we want – and we insist that he be the one to come up with the list of things that we want, so we can attack him for it in the next campaign – we are going to destroy the global economy, because it’s the […]

Your other one-minute real estate update

Basically, real estate good in Houston. Inventory of homes for sale has fallen to a level not seen in more than a decade. Builders are trying to keep up with a growing demand from buyers relocating here for jobs. Realtors are going to new lengths to find properties for their buyer clients. A letter from […]

The Houston Food Bank could use your help

Times are tough, y’all. Despite a growing demand, food banks, charities and pantries face a dwindling supply of products to distribute to Houston’s hungry this holiday season. Food banks in Houston and across the country have less to give away because the federal government is purchasing fewer excess farm products to stabilize agricultural prices. At […]

The hospitality industry industry’s effect on the economy

I had the opportunity recently to attend a presentation by the Greater Houston Restaurant Association (GHRA) of a study they sponsored of the economic impact of the hospitality industry in Harris County. Here’s the high level view: The study found Houston’s hotels, restaurants and drinking establishments make significant annual contributions to the local economy. The […]

Beer is still a job creator

We really owe a debt of gratitude to beer, in particular to microbrewers. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., the city’s oldest craft, has 43 employees and is in the midst of hiring at least three more, founder Brock Wagner said. That is about double the staff before production shifted to a new brewery with more capacity […]

Cutting spending is always good for job creation

It must be true. A study by the University of Texas at San Antonio estimated that 20 counties in the Eagle Ford Shale supported 47,097 full-time jobs in 2011, a number that’s expected to grow to 116,972 full-time jobs by 2021. For now, many of the jobs in demand are for truckers. And a pay […]

Regent Square gets off the ground

This has been a long time coming. More than five years after announcing plans for the 24-acre Regent Square project off Allen Parkway, GID Development Group has begun construction on the first building, a 21-story apartment tower called The Sovereign. […] GID said it remains committed to Regent Square, which is to go up in […]

Galveston passenger rail back on track

Sorry about the pun, they can be hard to avoid when writing these titles. Anyway, the on-again, off-again Houston to Galveston rail line is apparently on again. A Houston-to-Galveston passenger rail line postponed indefinitely after the economy hit bottom in 2009 is getting another chance, but it could be a decade or more before the […]

What will the excuse for austerity be now?

We’re in the money, as it were. Comptroller Susan Combs on Wednesday released updated details of how much money Texas is expected to collect in taxes and fees in fiscal year 2013, which begins on Sept. 1. The report, prepared as Texas seeks $9.8 billion in short-term loans, indicated that the state will bring in […]

From the “If pigs had wings” department

It’s never a bad time to construct a counterfactual. What if Rick Perry had never said, “Oops”? What if he could have, for Christ’s sake, just remembered that he had wanted to gut the Department of Energy? What if he hadn’t climbed into a tan coat and Brett Favre jeans and released that abominable Youtube […]