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Posts Tagged ‘Susan Combs’

Great moments in false equivalence

The headline reads Money from disputed tax bills flowing to candidates for top tax chief, and then the story tells us that more than 99% of that money is going to one of those candidates. Business entities and taxpayers are pumping thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of candidates who, if elected state comptroller, […]

TM talks to Mike Collier

He’s a really impressive candidate. What I’ve been surprised by in the past two years is how much farther right the state has gotten, even compared to someone like Rick Perry, who has, I think, been conservative by any normal standard. When Combs came back in 2013 reporting an $8.8 billion surplus—to me, that was […]

It was a bad week for the strip clubs

Another adverse court ruling. A state appeals court on Friday upheld the legality of the state’s so-called “pole tax” on nude entertainment clubs, the latest decision in a six-year battle by Texas officials to collect the $5-per-customer fee from more than 200 strip clubs. In a 16-page decision, the 3rd Court of Appeals overruled a […]

Combs tells strip clubs to pay up

Interesting. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is pressing the state’s strip clubs to cough up millions of dollars she says they owe under a new “pole tax” even though the $5-a-patron fee still faces a court challenge. “Any claim that ongoing litigation is a basis for nonpayment of the Sexually Oriented Business Fee is not valid,” […]

First day of early voting

Here are the Day One primary early voting totals, which was reasonably heavy and which went according to prediction, with most of the votes on the Republican side. The Chron preview story lays it out. Early voting for the March 4 primaries begins Tuesday with Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill predicting a turnout […]

Here are the Texas Monthly Ten Best and Ten Worst lists for 2013

This came out Wednesday, but the full story will not be published till next week. BEST: Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D- San Antonio) Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) Speaker Joe Straus (R-San […]

Combs not running for re-election

And a domino falls. Comptroller Susan Combs opened up the logjam that has been statewide office in Texas by announcing Wednesday that she will not seek election in 2014. Announcements were immediately flying with state Rep. Harvey Hildebran, R-Kerrville, throwing his green eye-shades into the race. Combs, 68, was first won the comptroller’s post in […]

Senate officially taps the Rainy Day Fund

Well done. Texas senators hammered out a sweeping deal to increase state funding for water and transportation projects and schools on Tuesday, tackling some of the thorniest issues of the legislative session all at once. The senators voted 31-0 for Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would ask Texas voters to approve taking $5.7 billion out […]

More details on the House budget

Consider this to be written in pencil, because it’s going to change. More than $1.6 billion and disagreements on how much Texas should spend on public education and Medicaid separate the budgets proposed by the House and Senate. The Senate budget proposal, passed 29-2 by the upper chamber last week, spends $195.5 billion, a 2.9 […]

Supplement this!

Time for the Lege to pay a few past-due bills from 2011. That’s where a supplemental budget comes in. It is literally a second budget added to the original one lawmakers approved in 2011. It’s not an unusual course for lawmakers to take to address lingering IOUs, but this year’s efforts are becoming more complicated […]

School districts are still a long way from getting relief

School districts may have gotten a favorable ruling in the latest school finance lawsuit, and if it survives appeal it could have far-reaching effects on the current system, but that doesn’t mean that things will get better for them now. If anything, they’re likely to get worse first. “It’s pretty bleak for next year,” said […]

Amazon fulfills its end of the deal with Texas

Good to see. Nine months after it struck a deal with the state to bring thousands of jobs and invest millions of dollars in Texas, online retail giant Amazon.com on Wednesday unveiled the first steps toward keeping its end of the bargain. Amazon said Wednesday it will build three fulfillment centers in Texas, creating about […]

The revenue estimate is in

And under normal circumstances it would be very good news. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, laying out the parameters for state spending on the eve of the legislative session, said Monday that the rebounding Texas economy gives lawmakers $8.8 billion unallocated in state coffers for this budget period and an improving picture for the next two […]

So how’s public education doing under the Republicans?

Well, for starters, there’s larger class sizes. Northside’s predicament mirrors that of several other local districts with expanding enrollments. It’s part of the argument hundreds of Texas districts are making in an ongoing school finance lawsuit against the state, blaming lawmakers for a funding scheme that doesn’t keep up with growth. Administrators say larger classes […]

What kind of debt is it?

Comptroller Susan Combs is real worried about city and county debt, y’all. Local governments are loading down Texas taxpayers with debt without providing them enough information about the amount already owed for roads, schools and other public projects, State Comptroller Susan Combs contends in a report released Wednesday. Titled “Your Money and Your Debt,” the […]

Dewhurst says he’s running for re-election in 2014

Peggy Fikac was first to report that David Dewhurst is not planning to fade away just yet. The last time we asked Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst what he plans to do in 2014, it was soon after he lost the U.S. Senate nomination to Ted Cruz. He asked if reporters minded giving him a couple […]

What will The Dew do next?

So Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst isn’t going anywhere next January. I’m going to put aside the questions of what happened for now and ask instead what happens in 2014? As we know, there are three people running for what they originally thought would be an open seat race for Lite Guv in 2014. What happens […]

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 […]

We better hope Amazon sticks to its deal with Texas

Remember that deal Amazon made with the state to start charging sales tax here and to commit to creating 2,500 jobs in return for having back taxes forgiven? Apparently, there’s not much in the deal to make them regret it if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. Amazon.com Inc. didn’t risk much […]

Waiting for Rick (and Greg, and David)

Ross Ramsey breaks out his crystal ball and looks ahead to the 2014 election. Remember this: In his long history in state politics — closing in on three decades — [Rick] Perry has run for everything he said he was going to run for. Given his history, the safest assumption is that Perry will be […]

Amazon starts collecting sales tax today

We are in a new era. Beginning Sunday, Texans will see state and local sales taxes show up on their taxable Amazon purchases — the result of a deal with the state comptroller’s office that resolved the e-commerce giant’s past tax liabilities with the state in exchange for the sales tax collections, the creation of […]

Is the Amazon deal with the state legal?

The Statesman raises a great question about the settlement deal between Amazon and the state of Texas that will get the online retailer to start collecting sales taxes in Texas while forgiving back taxes the state says it owes. But is it legal? Austin lawyer Buck Wood, a tax attorney and a former deputy comptroller […]

Amazon settles up with Texas

Good. Amazon.com will start collecting sales taxes from Texas customers this summer and agreed to make capital investments of $200 million and create 2,500 jobs in the state over the next four years, Comptroller Susan Combs announced this morning. In return, the state will drop its efforts to collect back sales taxes from the company. […]

Fighting identity theft

The U of Texas is studying it. Identity theft is a cradle-to-grave problem that costs U.S. businesses $50 billion and affects at least 10 million consumers each year. At least 1 million children’s identities are stolen over the course of a year — often misused by their parents, said Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer at […]

Our long Amazonian nightmare may finally be over

Negotiations are in progress to get Amazon to pay something like its fair share. Amazon.com is negotiating with the state to start paying Texas sales taxes on online sales and to create some jobs in the state, reviving talks that fell apart at the end of last year’s legislative session, sources involved in the conversations […]

All the “news” that fits, we print

I’ve heard of slow news days before, but this is ridiculous. State Comptroller Susan Combs trumpeted a survey Tuesday showing – as she wrote in the forward to a 15-page report – that a mere 3.4 percent of employers surveyed believe the Affordable Care Act will be good for their business. Nearly two-thirds said federal […]

What radicals?

I was reading this Patricia Kilday Hart column about how nobody outside Texas paid attention to the sonogram bill until the Virginia brouhaha and the Doonesbury series, which is a good albeit frustrating read, when I came across this bit that was frustrating for an entirely different reason: In the Texas Legislature, votes like Davis’ […]

Comptroller Combs’ slush fund

It took me longer than usual to read this story because I kept having to stop to say “Seriously? Seriously?” When lawmakers gave Comptroller Susan Combs more power to spend tax money to attract sporting events and conventions to the state, the idea was to generate economic development in Texas that might go somewhere else. […]

That’s hitting them where they live

Clever. Railroad Commission Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones vacated her office when she moved from Austin to run for the state Senate, and she should not be continuing to collect her monthly salary, a lawsuit filed [last week] alleges. In the suit, Austin attorney and former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire alleges that Jones’ move of […]

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 […]

The Rick Perry bailout

I don’t think I’d ever heard about this before. Over his eight years as Texas’ [Agriculture Commissioner], [Rick] Perry oversaw a loan guarantee program with so many defaults that the state had to stop guaranteeing bank loans to startups in agribusiness and eventually bailed out the program with taxpayer money. The state auditor panned Perry’s […]

Don’t expect the next budget to be any better than this one

Continuing a theme I’ve harped on here, if state legislators thought that they solved Texas’ budget issues this year they are sadly mistaken. Some experts say Texas tax revenues must zoom far above forecasts, if we’re to escape another miserable budget session in 2013. But the state’s leading forecaster on Wednesday offered little hope that […]

What if they all lose?

Now that Rick Perry and David Dewhurst have decided they really want to be in that place they profess to hate so much, Washington, DC, there are a bunch of politicians behind them hoping to move up. Ross Ramsey wonders, what happens if Perry and Dewhurst lose? What if Perry loses the Republican primary for […]

Patterson to run for Lite Guv

With Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst running for the Senate, everyone else in state government that’s been waiting for a chance to move up is undoubtedly making plans to do so. At the front of the line is Lanc Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Jerry Patterson confirmed Tuesday night that he will run for lieutenant governor in 2014, […]