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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Ogden’

It’s usually a bad idea to bet on any kind of overhaul in the Lege

I agree that it’s a sucker’s bet to think that the Lege will try to fix Texas’ tax code in any meaningful way. Nobody likes having to take votes that may later be used as clubs against them in a campaign, and the lobbyists swarm like no other time when someone’s tax break is on […]

Calling for a special session

It started with the Texas State Teachers Association. The Texas State Teachers Association today urged Gov. Rick Perry to call the Legislature into special session now to appropriate $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund and head off another round of harmful cuts in local public school budgets for the 2012-2013 school year. “It is […]

Senate changes

I’m not worried about the State Senate becoming more conservative, I’m worried about it becoming more stupid. “A seat in the Texas Senate does not come open very often, and all of a sudden now there are four,” said Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, one of the four who have announced their retirements. “The Senate is […]

Changes will be coming

Robert Miller has a look at who we know won’t be back in the Lege for 2013. It’s a list that’s sure to get longer – I’m aware of a few more rumored retirements, and there’s already numerous primary challenges out there. In some cases, the legislative shuffling is creating openings elsewhere – first term […]

This is an excellent time to cut funding for fighting wildfires

That’s exactly what the Republicans did in the budget that came into effect last week. Cash-strapped state lawmakers – led by Gov. Rick Perry’s stand against raising taxes or dipping too deeply into the state rainy day fund – cut appropriations for the Texas Forest Service even as they had to dig for more money […]

Opening bids on the next deficit

Do I hear $7 billion? Ten billion? How about $15 billion? Early projections indicate that when the Legislature convenes in 2013 it could face another revenue shortfall. Not as severe as this year’s $27-billion gap, but still problematic. “I think we’re going to have a $10- to $15-billion budget deficit next session,” Sen. Dan Patrick, […]

Fiscal and health care bills pass

Here’s one less reason for a special session. One key budget-related bill, Senate Bill 2, won final approval from both chambers this afternoon and is headed to the governor’s desk. SB 2 is an appropriations bill that goes hand-in-hand with Senate Bill 1, the main revenue and school finance vehicle. SB 1 is expected to […]

The budget is still broken

What was true at the beginning of the regular legislative session is still true as the special session winds down: The budget is still broken. Instead of revamping the business tax structure or taking aim at tax exemptions, lawmakers cut billions of dollars in spending and cobbled together accounting maneuvers and spending delays to meet […]

Cut education now, pay later?

That’s the question for Republican legislators, isn’t it? GOP legislators didn’t budge this session from their commitment to reduce Texas’ education spending even in the face of protests, negative ad campaigns and reams of criticism. The outcry didn’t faze them because it wasn’t coming from within their party. That might change, some Republicans say, once […]

About that Rainy Day fund

Peggy Fikac puts it in perspective. Why are state GOP leaders so firmly against spending more money from the rainy day fund for public education? As some explain with increasing clarity, it’s because budget writers have all but spent it already. The fund is projected to have $6.4 billion uncommitted after taking care of a […]

Senate Finance committee does its thing again

I wouldn’t call the pace of this special session “fast”, but they do have the ball rolling, starting with the Senate Finance committee as they re-approve a budget, or at least a budget figure. The Senate Finance Committee voted 10-1 to approve the bill. The full Senate could vote [Friday] on the legislation. The House […]

Vote on school finance today

On Friday night, the Lege finally reached an agreement on school finance, which is to say on how to distribute the $4 billion in cuts to public education to the school districts. Today the Lege gets to vote on that deal. House leaders wanted a two-year plan cutting school funding across the board by about […]

Budget passes

It’s official. The Texas House and Senate passed a state budget Saturday that cuts billions from public schools, state universities and health care for the elderly. The $172 billion legislation now goes to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature. Facing a massive revenue shortfall, lawmakers crafted the budget by making cuts and using deferrals rather […]

We have a budget

Such as it is. Budget negotiators met briefly this morning and voted 9-1 to adopt a conference committee report that cuts the state budget over the next biennium by $15 billion, or 8 percent. The total amount of funding from taxpayers, known as general funds, is $80.4 billion. The total expenditures for all funds, including […]

It’s always been about controlling women

Sadly, there’s nothing new about this. Senate Finance Committee Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said Monday afternoon that budget negotiators will likely adopt a 2012-13 family planning budget that is “pretty close” to the House’s proposal — $37 million for low-income women under the Department of State Health Services — compared to the $100 million proposed […]

More on the budget deal

From the Statesman: The agreement is hinged on the House passing a so-called fiscal matters bill, Senate Bill 1811, that would free up money to help pay for the $3 billion in additional spending to which the House negotiators agreed. “Once they get (SB) 1811 passed, I think we’ll resume deliberations on the budget, and […]

Budget deal reached

One less reason for a special session. Assuming nothing else goes wrong, and Rick Perry doesn’t veto it out of whatever sense of grandeur and vanity drives him. House Speaker Joe Straus indicated legislative negotiators have reached an agreement on the state budget, and the House soon today will consider the much-delayed revenue-generating bill crucial […]

House punts on budget bills till tomorrow

After getting off to a slow start, budget negotiators realized they were going nowhere fast and put a merciful end to things for the day. The House has punted to Thursday any floor consideration of the “non-tax revenue” bill and related bills needed to close out a deal on the two-year state budget. Rep. Jim […]

Combs raises revenue estimate

Looks like Sen. Ogden and his fellow dreamers got their wish. Comptroller Susan Combs added $1.2 billion to her estimate of state revenues, making that much more money available to budget writers who are scrambling for cash. She said the state’s income from sales taxes, motor vehicle sales taxes and oil production are all up, […]

Senate passes supplemental appropriation with extra rainy day funds

I guess I hadn’t realized that the Senate hadn’t gotten around to passing a bill to close the deficit from the last biennium, since the House had done that a long time ago amid a huge debate about using Rainy Day Funds, but it’s just now that they passed the House’s bill, with a little […]

Nothing is dead, and nothing is certain

The deadline for passing House bills on second reading was midnight Friday last week, which means that tons of bills are technically dead, as they can no longer be brought to the House floor for a vote. However, bills can still be attached to other bills that are eligible for consideration as amendments, so nothing […]

School finance issues holding up budget deal

News flash: School finance reform is hard. Especially when all it’s doing is taking money away from everyone. The clock is a-tickin’ for Texas lawmakers to cobble together a budget compromise that enacts deep cuts to public education. But with less than three weeks left in the legislative session, neither chamber has debated, much less […]

Senate passes its budget

Once the rules were suspended to allow the budget bill CSHB1 to come to the floor, this became a mere formality. The Texas Senate took minutes to tentatively approve a proposed $176.5 billion, two-year state budget Wednesday in a party-line 19-12 vote, steamrolling Democrats who said it cuts back crucial services while leaving billions unspent […]

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 […]

Dewhurst flips, then flops, on using rainy day funds

First he says he’s against it. [Lt. Gov. David] Dewhurst sounded supportive of the overall level of spending in the Senate plan, but voiced a preference for using what he calls nontax revenue items instead of the rainy day fund. Some of the supposed nontax revenue ideas that senators haven’t embraced include selling some state […]

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 […]

Is it time to fix school finance?

It’s pretty much always time to fix school finance, since school finance is always broken, so here goes the Senate. Maybe. State Senate leaders want to end the much-despised public education funding system by 2017, although they disagree on how to do it — and time is growing short. Some prefer a goal to end […]

House approves a little more money, Senate readies its budget

Just a little. Texas House budget-writers voted Monday to free up an additional $3 billion for key state services through such moves as speeding up tax collections, delaying payments and suspending the back-to-school sales tax holiday. The bills next go to the full House, which Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, predicted could be willing […]

Here comes the Senate budget

We know that the Senate budget will spend more money than the House budget, not that this is a high bar to clear. We know that the Senate has searched high and low for the funds to support the higher appropriations they want. This week, we find out how they plan to do it. Senate […]

When you find yourself in a hole, go ahead and keep digging

So Texas has this big budget shortfall. You’ve probably heard about it. A big part of that shortfall is structural, thanks to the 2006 property tax cut that was supposed to be funded primarily by the business margins tax. Unfortunately, that tax was projected from the beginning to fall short, and it has turned out […]

The House finds a few extra bucks

Where has this been all along? State Rep. Rob Orr, R-Burleson, introduced two bills to the House Appropriations Committee that could add several million dollars to the public schools budget over the next two years. HB 2646 proposes allowing the School Land Board to transfer at least half of the net revenue it collects from […]

Tax breaks are spending, too

Let’s see who among the “we have to live within our means” crowd opposes this. Faced with a looming budget shortfall, the Senate’s most powerful member is carrying legislation that would cap state spending on school property tax breaks that are Texas’ primary tool to attract major business relocation or expansion projects. Sen. Steve Ogden, […]

Senate restores some funds to Health and Human Services

Still not clear how they’re paying for any of it yet. The Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to restore a less-than-expected $4.3 billion in health spending in 2012-13 but promised to try to find more money in the coming weeks. The panel adopted most of the recommendations made recently by the Medicaid subcommittee, including a […]