Ben Philpott Reporter

Ben Philpott is a senior reporter for KUT-FM, Austin's National Public Radio affiliate. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002, during which time he has been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Houston Press Club and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Recent Contributions

TX Tea Party Works Way Into Texas GOP

Debra Medina on stage, after introducing another speaker at a We Texans rally during the state GOP convention.
Debra Medina on stage, after introducing another speaker at a We Texans rally during the state GOP convention.
Can the Republican establishment in Texas and the various Tea Party groups find enough common ground to keep the state GOP from splintering? Mississippi governor Haley Barbour told convention delegates this weekend that they have no choice. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

Texas GOP Works to Control National Conservative Message

Gov. Rick Perry, closing his speech to the first general session of the Texas Republican Convention.
Gov. Rick Perry, closing his speech to the first general session of the Texas Republican Convention.
Since George W. Bush exited the White House, Texas has lost in place at the center of the political universe. But Texas Republicans, who gathered this weekend in Dallas, say there's still plenty here for the rest of the nation to emulate and embrace. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

TX Lawmakers Debate Dropping Some From Sexual Offender List

There are more than 61,000 registered sex offenders in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s database. Some think the list includes people who aren’t a threat to society and that the stigma of being on it hurts them more than it helps the greater community. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report.

How Budget Cuts Will Affect School Districts

Last week's request for additional budget cuts of 10 percent is expected to have a dramatic effect on state services — and local ones, too. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on how a new round of slashing will affect school districts in particular.

Gov Perry calls for another 10% in Budget Cuts

The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker directed all state agencies on Friday to cut their budgets by an additional 10 percent. Last week, those same agencies had their current budgets trimmed by a total of around $1.2 billion in an effort to close a projected $18 billion budget shortfall in the next legislative session. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

TX Green Party Works to Get on 2010 Ballot

Green Party officials drop off about 93,000 signatures to the Texas Secretary of State.
Green Party officials drop off about 93,000 signatures to the Texas Secretary of State.
Texas has among the most restrictive ballot access laws of any state, which is why the Green Party hasn't put its candidates before voters here since 2002. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports that party activists hope to end the dry spell this year.

Texas Unemployment Numbers Show Some Improvements

More jobs in Texas...but more people looking too.
More jobs in Texas...but more people looking too.
The latest employment numbers show that more Texans than ever before have jobs, but the state is still struggling with its highest unemployment rate since 1987. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on the good and bad news in the latest stats.

Texas Agencies Cut Budgets for Shortfall

In January, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker asked state agencies to cut 5 percent from their 2010 budgets. On Tuesday the three state leaders released a list of cuts — and revealed a few exemptions to their earlier order. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

TX Lawmakers continue fight over federal stimulus

An announcement board in an Austin unemployment office.
An announcement board in an Austin unemployment office.

Rick Perry made national headlines last year when he announced Texas was turning down unemployment insurance benefits available as part of the federal stimulus package. Attempts by state lawmakers to get their hands on the money anyway ran out of time at the end of the Legislative session, but as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the $555 million is still there for the taking.

TX Lawmakers use tricks to balance state budget

Staring down a shortfall of as much as $18 billion, lawmakers could employ a handful of accounting tricks to kick some payments down the road, saving several billion dollars. How exactly would that work? This dramatization demonstrates how similar tricks could be used to lower a restaurant bill.