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

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.

The Weekly Tribcast Episode 31

In this week's TribCast, Ross, Evan, Ben and Reeve discuss the summer political fundraising season, TxDOT's audit, how population projections will impact into redistricting and the politics of pollution.

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.

TX Republicans work to repeal federal healthcare

When they return to Austin for the next legislative session. lawmakers will confront, for the first time as a group, federal health care reform. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on how some conservative activists and politicians think Texas should respond.

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.

TX Lawmakers Review Cap and Trade Impact on Texas

The Obama administration's push to pass carbon control legislation got a boost yesterday with the release of a new version of the bill in the U.S. Senate. Here in Texas, as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the state's GOP leadership continues to fight back against what they view as an energy tax bill.

Spencer Abraham On Oil Spill and Energy Affects

SPencer Abraham in Austin at a Green Energy Summit
SPencer Abraham in Austin at a Green Energy Summit
Officials of the companies involved in the oil spill in the Gulf spent time on Capitol Hill this week blaming each other for the environmental devastation it has caused. But what about the economic devastation? Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune posed that question to former U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

John Cornyn concerned on Kagan SCOTUS Nomination

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the House chamber of the Texas Capitol
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the House chamber of the Texas Capitol
Now that Barack Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, the hard part begins: getting her confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Ben Philpott, who's reporting this election cycle for KUT News and the Tribune, asked U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to preview the battle ahead.