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Posts Tagged ‘Legislative Budget Board’

From the “Simple answers to simple questions” department

The Statesman asks “Would Dan Patrick’s tax plan lower your taxes?” Efforts to shift toward sales tax in lieu of property and income taxes have in recent years gained momentum in Republican-led states — even as economists warn that this sort of tax reform is likely to harm the majority of taxpayers. Economists point out […]

We really should have expanded Medicaid

We know it would have done a lot of good, at a very reasonable cost. Turns out that cost was even less than what we had been told. News reports and state officials have commonly stated that expanding the Medicaid program in this fashion would cost the state about $15 billion over 10 years. Except, that figure, provided […]

Collier hammers Hegar for property tax idiocy

Good. During the recent Republican primary for state comptroller, state Sen. Glenn Hegar repeatedly endorsed eliminating local property taxes in Texas. Borrowing from GOP opponent Debra Medina’s 2010 playbook, Hegar urged a shift to sales taxes to make up the more than $40 billion a year of revenue that cities, counties, school districts and other […]

There are no new ideas, but there are plenty of bad ideas

There’s so much wrong with what Greg Abbott wants for Texas that it’s hard to know where to begin. In his first major policy address as a gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott proposed tighter constitutional limits on state spending and increased constraints on the multibillion-dollar Rainy Day Fund. Abbott laid out his “Working Texans” […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bad ideas never die

And so we find ourselves once again talking about tax breaks for yacht buyers. From capping the sales tax on yachts to phasing out the state business levy, some lawmakers are pushing for tax breaks even as others say the system is already riddled with too many special-interest exemptions. The breaks are most often cast […]

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 […]

This time it’s different

Why is this school finance ruling different from all other school finance rulings? For one thing, it was way more comprehensive. The changes needed to correct the constitutional violations [Judge John] Dietz identified could comprise the most far-reaching overhaul of education policy the state has enacted in more than 40 years, said Lynn Moak, a […]

From the “Anyone can call themselves an expert” department

Now see, this is what happens when you go soliciting expert witnesses on Craigslist Joseph Bast, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, is a witness for Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, or TREE, a group led by former state Rep. Kent Grusendorf that is not a plaintiff but was permitted […]

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 […]

Dewhurst and Nelson push Medicaid reform

I’m reserving judgment on this for now. Lt. Gov David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, on Wednesday touted Senate proposals they say would bring down spending on Medicaid, the state’s health program for the poor, by instituting quality-based payment reforms for long-term care services and measures to catch Medicaid fraud and abuse. “Our […]

Why are we paying for a privatized psych hospital?

Makes no sense to me. The Department of State Health Services has spent more than $2 million on bond interest for a psychiatric hospital that it doesn’t own and that was championed by Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams. But that’s not all the state is paying for, said Montgomery County Commissioner Ed Chance, who spearheaded […]

It’s news but it’s not new

Before the Labor Day weekend, Sen. Dan Patrick said something that was considered to be newsworthy even though he and others have been saying it for years. A Republican state senator calling for a tax increase is clearly in the man-bites-dog media category. When that senator is tea party champion Dan Patrick, R-Houston, it’s in […]

Non-robust job numbers in Texas

As goes the country, so goes the state. The Houston area is showing signs of a slowdown after coming off some fairly strong job gains during the winter months. “It’s very consistent with the national pattern,” said Barton Smith, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Houston, who pointed to the data released Friday […]

So what happens if there isn’t a school finance deal?

You may recall that having to change the school finance formula to distribute the billions of cuts to public education is causing problems with the budget. What happens if no changes are made to the formula? The Trib contemplates the question. So what would doing nothing look like? Without legislation that provides a mechanism to […]

Senate fails to bring the budget to the floor

It started Monday when Senate Finance Chair Sen. Steve Ogden said he might pull same Rainy Day funds out of the budget in order to get more Republican (read: Dan Patrick) support for it. After some discussion about alternate ways of incorporating Rainy Day funds and some griping about the Comptroller, CSHB1 was brought up […]

Senate makes progress on the budget

They still haven’t gotten to the actual budget yet, but they’ve passed a bill that allows for some extra “non-tax revenue” plus a bunch of accounting gimmicks, which makes their less-penurious-than-the-House budget possible. The Texas Senate, digging publicly for money while it battles quietly over a proposed budget, approved a “non-tax revenue” bill that would […]

In Perry’s world

Rick Perry creates his own reality. You got a problem with that? Gov. Rick Perry, sticking to his guns against further use of the state’s rainy day fund, dismissed a question Tuesday about whether he’s planning for dislocation of tens of thousands of elderly Texans if the House budget is passed and many nursing homes […]

Senate Finance Committee passes its budget

The fight over the Rainy Day Fund is now officially on. A $176.5 billion budget for the 2012-13 biennium — 5.9 percent smaller than the current budget but almost $12 billion larger than the version passed earlier by the House — won approval from the Senate Finance Committee Thursday morning and will come to a […]

House ponders what to do about Amazon

My guess is that they ultimately won’t do anything this session, but it’s good to see the matter discussed by the Ways and Means Committee. If nothing else, it may lay the groundwork for a future session. House Bill 1317 by Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, and House Bill 2403, by Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton are […]

The Lege’s job killing budget

Do you think this is what all those people who came out to vote last November had in mind? The Legislative Budget Board, a nonpartisan state agency that helps lawmakers with budget numbers, predicts that House version of the 2012-2013 state budget would result in 272,000 fewer jobs in Texas the first year and 335,000 […]

From the “Stuff I’d like to see happen but won’t” files

You may recall that one of the LBB recommendations for helping to close the budget gap was to impose a $100 surcharge on the purchase of fuel-inefficient vehicles. I said at the time that I loved the idea but thought it had zero chance of being adopted. This Star-Telegram story about the surcharge does nothing […]

The Sunday liquor sales debate

As we know, one of the Legislative Budget Board recommendations for generating revenue is for the state to allow liquor sales on Sunday. The Statesman takes a look at the debate this proposal has generated. Legislation to allow Sunday liquor sales died in 2009, but the issue gained momentum this session when the Legislative Budget […]

Is everything on the table or not?

Some things are more on the table than others. Tax breaks that encouraged high-cost natural gas drilling in Texas cost state government $7.4 billion in lost revenue over six years and would cost the state billions more if continued, according to a study authored for legislative leaders. The study by the Legislative Budget Board, which […]

Budget testimony from the Sheriff’s office

In addition to all of the education and HHSC-related testimony before the Senate Finance Committee this week, law enforcement agencies who will be affected by cuts to mental health services were also heard from. Here’s a press release sent out by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia about what they had to say: The Harris County […]

Business leaders urged to oppose “cuts only” approach to the budget

Good luck with that. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby is helping lead an effort to rally Texas business leaders against what he calls a “catastrophic” cuts-only approach to balancing the state’s budget in the face of a massive shortfall, estimated at $15 billion to $27 billion over the next two years. Hobby, a board member […]

Some reactions to LBB recommendations

The Statesman asks around about three of the Legislative Budget Board recommendations for raising revenue. First, the suggestion to allow liquor sales on Sunday, which it projects would generate an extra $7.4 million. Not surprisingly, the liquor industry favors this, but some others don’t: David Jabour, president of Austin-based Twin Liquors, said the demand wouldn’t […]

LBB recommendations

We’re still waiting on the Pitts “You’re gonna get it good and hard” budget, but until then the Legislative Budget Board has released a list of recommendations for savings, which you can see here, that’s worth reviewing. There’s some good stuff here, so let me go over a few highlights. Things I like: —  Require electronic […]

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 […]

Perry scoffs at budget shortfall number

What color is the sky on Rick Perry’s planet? Gov. Rick Perry says that where some see an $18 billion budget gap ahead for Texas, he sees a figure plucked from the sky. “I think it’s a number that somebody just reached up in the air and grabbed,” Perry said in a TV interview that […]

Some cows are more sacred than others

To quote Mel Brooks, it’s good to be the king. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will not be denied his steroid testing money. The Texas Education Agency had included the $1 million cost of the steroid program among its $135.5 million in proposed cuts. But state leaders left in $750,000 for that program as they cut […]

The hole keeps getting deeper

I’ve said multiple times that even if we survive the 2011 legislative session, the budget problems we’ll be dealing with next year aren’t going away. The reason for that is because we have a structural deficit, as the giant unaffordable 2006 property tax cut was supposed to have been paid for by the new business […]