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House Budget Sets Up Transportation Funding Debate

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.

Texas House budget writers put the final touches Thursday on a two-year budget that offers a different approach to boosting funding for transportation from the Senate.

Senators Worry State Contracting is Too Decentralized

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Senators learned at a hearing Wednesday that the current state contracting system is so fragmented that no one knows the total value of the state's current contracts. 

Senate Tax Cut Plan Draws Criticism

Senators Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen and Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, listen to DPS Director Steve McCraw testify Dec. 1, 2014 at the Legislative Budget Board meeting at the State Capitol.
Senators Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen and Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, listen to DPS Director Steve McCraw testify Dec. 1, 2014 at the Legislative Budget Board meeting at the State Capitol.

There's a lot of ways you can spend $4.6 billion in tax cuts, and the Senate Finance Committee learned Wednesday that a wide range of special interest groups think the current proposal could use some work.

Lawmakers Want Property Tax Cut That Folks Notice

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.

The last time lawmakers cut property taxes, it barely registered with most voters because appraisal increases and local tax hikes overwhelmed the savings. This year's cut will be smaller, but Republican leaders hope people will feel richer for it.