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Bettencourt Softens Bill to Limit Property Tax Growth

Paul Bettencourt, now a state senator, is shown on Dec. 5, 2014, during the "What the Tea Party Wants" panel at a Texas Tribune event previewing the 2014 legislative session.
Paul Bettencourt, now a state senator, is shown on Dec. 5, 2014, during the "What the Tea Party Wants" panel at a Texas Tribune event previewing the 2014 legislative session.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, wants to make cities and counties ask voters for permission to enact tax rates that allow overall property tax revenue from existing homes and businesses to rise more than 6 percent.

Senate Bill Targeting Bullet Train Project Advances

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

On a 5-4 vote, the Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would hobble a private company’s plan to build a $12 billion high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston.

Bonnen's $4.9 Billion Tax Cut Plan Targets Sales Taxes

Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.
Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, laid out a $4.9 billion tax cut plan Wednesday featuring cuts in sales taxes and business taxes. The Senate's plan cuts business taxes and property taxes.

 

Budget Debate Tackles School Funding, Incentive Programs

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early discussions addressed school funding and incentives programs.

FBI at Health Commission Asking About 21CT

Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Dr. Kyle Janek
Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Dr. Kyle Janek

FBI agents have interviewed Texas Health and Human Services Commission employees about the agency's problematic contract with Austin firm 21CT, Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek said Thursday, the first time any official with direct knowledge of the FBI's involvement has confirmed it.

Senate's Property Tax Cut May Stall in House

Texas House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks over amendments to border security legislation on March 1, 2015.
Texas House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks over amendments to border security legislation on March 1, 2015.

The Texas Senate's notion of lowering property taxes for homeowners may lose steam when it reaches the House, where leaders appear more inclined to lower state sales taxes and avoid a collision with the spending cap.

 

 

$209.8 Billion Budget Plan Headed to House Floor

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.
State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday backed a $209.8 billion two-year budget that would leave $8.4 billion on the table, along with billions more in the state’s savings account. The budget plan now goes to the full House.