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Posts Tagged ‘stimulus’

Fixing pipes needs to be part of the state water plan

The idea of conservation is to use less than you are currently using. When a large part of your water usage is due to leaks and losses, any sensible plan for conservation should start with addressing the underlying issues causing those leaks. About 40 percent of the pipes supplying Houston’s water are still in use […]

It’s not so easy being green

For cities, anyway, at this time. College Station, the maroon-hued home of Texas A&M University, is finding it is not easy being green. Four years after launching an ambitious local effort to fight global warming, city leaders say their high hopes have fallen to hard economic realities, forcing them to abandon their green-at-all-costs approach. The […]

Texas’ unemployment rate spikes

Texas unemployment rate hits its highest mark since 1987. That’s probably not the kind of headline Rick Perry wants to read right now. As Gov. Rick Perry touts job creation and limited government on the campaign trail, the Texas’ unemployment rate tied a 1987 record in July and the Austin-area took the brunt of the […]

Subsidies for jobs

Let’s be clear about what this is, shall we? When Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst crisscrossed the state last year touting his program to provide state subsidies to anyone who would hire unemployed workers, Texas employers lined up. To the state’s most powerful lawmaker, the rationale for wage subsidies was simple: The Texas economy would benefit […]

Federal education funds officially on their way

That’s $830 million that the Senate was counting on for education funds that it will now officially have. Just two weeks after a bipartisan federal budget deal ended an eight-month impasse over $830 million in federal education funding, the U.S. Department of Education agreed Friday to send Texas the money that previously had been in […]

Doggett Amendment repealed as part of budget-shutdown deal

Oh, the things that can happen in the dark of night. In a victory for Gov. Rick Perry, the most recent Congressional budgetary stopgap — passed Friday night to avoid closing the federal government — contains language that repeals the “Save Our Schools” amendment from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. The measure would have prohibited […]

San Antonio bike share

I love the idea of B-Cycle, San Antonio’s new bike sharing program, I’m just not sure how well it will work. “I think it will encourage faster infrastructure for bike lanes and all the things we need because suddenly it’s there, visitors will use it, and we need to make sure we can get around,” […]

House repeals Doggett Amendment

This may be a partial answer to my earlier question about the status of the $830 million in federal education funds that await Texas if Governor Perry will attest that they will be actually spent on education. In the latest round of the political feud over $830 million in federal funding, House Republicans, led by […]

The balanced budget fantasy

There’s really only one thing to say about this. One of Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign staples last year was that America would be a far better place if it were more like the Lone Star State — limited government, fewer taxes, sensible regulation and, of course, a balanced budget. Now, Perry and his cohorts in […]

The national folks notice Texas’ budget situation

You’ve probably seen this by now, but just in case you haven’t, here it is. Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to tell Washington to stop meddling in state affairs. He vocally opposed the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus program to spur the economy and assist cash-strapped states. Perry also likes to trumpet that his state balanced […]

Krugman on the Texas budget deficit

By now, you’ve probably seen Paul Krugman’s column about the Texas budget deficit. He uses it to make some great points about the failure of the conservative slash-and-burn approach, but he missed a couple of facts that make it all the more damning. How bad is the Texas deficit? Comparing budget crises among states is […]

You’re gonna miss it when it’s gone

So long, stimulus dollars. You were nice while you lasted. Texas’ $16.4 billion share of federal stimulus money winds down next year, a fading boon that will affect Houston jobs and research from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. While Republicans have argued that the Obama administration’s emergency spending plan cost […]

Branch makes the case for stimulus spending

I don’t know if that’s what he intended, but it sure is what he did. State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, said Thursday that Texas should consider seizing one advantage from hard times, which would be to let universities lock in contractors and borrowing costs at steep discounts. “If there’s a real need for a building […]

The deficit debacle

Think things are bad now? Just you wait. Texas faces a budget crisis of truly daunting proportions, with lawmakers likely to cut sacrosanct programs such as education for the first time in memory and to lay off hundreds if not thousands of state workers and public university employees. Texas’ GOP leaders, their eyes on the […]

Privately funded high speed rail?

From Houston Tomorrow: A possible Houston to Dallas high-speed rail line was the topic of a Monday morning breakfast meeting featuring Yoshiyuki Kasai, the chairman of Central Japan Railway, Japan’s largest rail company and maker of the famed Japanese “bullet trains.” Kasai was hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). The company is developing plans […]

Rick Perry loves the stimulus

He just hates to admit it. When 47 state and territorial governors sent a letter on Feb. 22 asking for more federal matching dollars for Medicaid, Perry refused to sign. He likes to talk about how he thinks the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a waste of money. Yet on Aug. 25 Perry wrote […]

Sometimes the headline tells you all you need to know

Rep. Joe Barton celebrates Waxahachie clinic, which is expanding with stimulus he opposed. Actually, this one does have a bit more to it than that: “There were two pieces of legislation that helped bring this about,” Joseph Gallegos, senior vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers, said at Wednesday’s groundbreaking. “Part of […]

Congress wants education money spent on education

It sounds simple, but around here these things never are. State leaders on Thursday threatened to sue the federal government over a restriction Congress is placing on $830 million in education funding for Texas. Texas educators and Democratic congressional allies, however, say the strings are necessary because of the way Gov. Rick Perry and the […]

Texas 20/20 on the budget

Via First Reading, a group called Texas 20/20 has taken a look at what other states have done to deal with their budget shortfalls, and how that may apply to Texas in next year’s legislative session. The author is former Deputy Comptroller Billy Hamilton, who was a high-ranking aide to Democratic and Republican comptrollers. Here’s […]

How to really put the unemployed to work

Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken has the germ of a good idea here. Unfortunately, he’s incapable of seeing what it is, and so goes off a cliff with it. “Even in good economic times, there were people in Texas who saw the unemployment system as simply another entitlement program, which it’s not,” Pauken, who served […]

Was there no one in Texas that could tell us about our broadband situation?

I’m a little late in picking this up, so bear with me. Last week, the Texas Department of Agriculture published a map detailing where broadband access exists and doesn’t exist in Texas. Democratic candidate for Ag Commish Hank Gilbert, after criticizing the map as being much ado about not very much, then had some strong […]

Just a reminder about Perry’s unemployment tax increase

Lisa Falkenberg watches some video of Texas Workforce Commission Executive Director Larry Temple testifying before the Senate and reiterates something we knew. Temple acknowledged Thursday to the Senate Committee on Economic Development that Texas’ decision not to take $556 million in unemployment stimulus dollars directly led to higher taxes for business owners and more borrowing […]

Stimulus fight

As we know, HISD is reducing its workforce, including teachers, due to budget shortfalls. The Houston Federation of Teachers says that this is happening while there are a lot of unspent stimulus funds. Houston Federation of Teachers leader Gayle Fallon pointed to Texas Education Agency spread sheets showing federal stimulus dollars and annual formula dollars, […]

Green University

Colleges and universities are on the green wagon. “Green is good business,” said Pedro Alvarez, chairman of the civil and environmental engineering department at Rice University. But it’s also about idealism. “It’s not only a prerequisite to get a job but also something that genuinely appeals to this generation, how they could contribute to a […]

Geothermal energy

Interesting read about the town of Klamath Falls, Oregon, where they take advantage of an unusual feature to keep things warm. A combination of hot rocks and water like those that created Yellowstone’s geysers have been tapped by the city to keep the sidewalks toasty since the early 1990s. They also heat downtown buildings, kettles […]

TxDOT to give a little more focus to rail

So says Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi. “Really since the creation of the Texas Department of Transportation, roads were seen as the only solution and we’re learning very quickly that we can’t keep up with enough of the road demand,” Deirdre Delisi, Chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, said this week. Under the Bush administration, […]

D Magazine on John Carona

Interesting profile, worth a read, on State Sen. John Carona, who’s become somewhat of a radical in his party for actually being old-fashioned enough to try to solve problems and make government work. I think he’s right about this: With their mantra of no new taxes, the Republican-controlled Legislature does not have the money to […]

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 […]

Smart meters

Ever wanted to check your house’s power usage online? You will, or at least you’ll be able to. CenterPoint Energy, along with other distribution utilities and IBM, is expected to launch an online portal, www.smartmetertexas.com, this month that will allow customers to monitor usage in real time regardless of which retailer provides their electricity. Without […]

More recycling coming

Good news. The city is poised to expand its automated recycling program to an additional 50,000 households, allowing roughly 1 in 5 Houstonians the opportunity to put paper, plastic, soda cans and glass into one wheeled trash-can-sized bin instead of a garbage can. […] About $2.8 million in federal stimulus dollars paid for the new […]

HISD may race to the top

Despite the earlier decision by Governor Perry to not let Texas compete for “Race to the Top” stimulus funds, school districts like HISD may get the chance to apply for them on their own. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he would seek $1.35 billion in next year’s budget to expand the $4 billion grant […]

No race to the top

By now you’ve probably heard the news that Governor Perry has directed the Texas to not compete for “Race to the Top” stimulus funds. Gov. Rick Perry said today that Texas will not compete for up to $700 million in federal grant funding for schools. His decision to snub the Race to the Top grant […]

Perry (not) for President

By now you’re probably aware of the current Texas Monthly cover story, in which Paul Burka makes the case that Rick Perry is positioning himself for a run at the Presidency in 2012. I don’t care to get into a detailed analysis of this – I’ll leave most of the heavy lifting to Bob Moser […]

Cash for clunky appliances

I suppose at some point that “Cash for X” construction will get old, but until then, here come some more eeeeevil federal stimulus dollars, this time for trading in energy-hogging appliances. Many of the details of the plan are still up in the air, since the state hasn’t chosen a contractor to coordinate the program. […]