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

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.

Spencer Abraham Talks Green Energy in Austin

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham was in Austin yesterday as part of a travelling conference on how far we have to go to address the county’s renewable energy challenges. Abraham spoke with Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune about his message to public and private sector players.

Determining Who is Legally Liable in BP Oil Spill

Response boats work to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig sank on April 22, 2010.
Response boats work to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig sank on April 22, 2010.
Lawsuits have already been filed over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with a range of plaintiffs, from shrimpers to resort owners, seeking damages from BP and other companies. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on the legal battle ahead.

Texas GOP Chair Candidates Talk Immigration

Cathie Adams, Tom Mechler, and Steve Munisteri
Cathie Adams, Tom Mechler, and Steve Munisteri
How do the three candidates vying to be the state GOP's next chair feel about the hot-potato issue of immigration? Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports that they believe their fellow Republicans shouldn't rush to embrace the controversial new Arizona law.

Could the Texas Longhorns Move to the SEC

The Big 10 college sports conference is expected to add at least one new school sometime this year. Those in the know say Big 12 Conference member Missouri is the most popular choice. Losing one school isn't likely to hurt the Big 12 — but what if the Big 10 adds 3 or 4 schools? What would that mean for the Big 12? Specifically, what would that mean for the Texas Longhorns? Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune filed this report.

Oil Rig Explosion Leads to Oil Spill In Gulf

Work continues to plug the oil well leaking in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion and sinking of the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on clean up efforts.

How Much Will Texas Lawmakers Cut from TX Budget

The last time there was such a huge shortfall was in 2003, and lawmakers back then did a little bit of everything to patch up the hole — but mainly they slashed state spending. In the final part of his series on our budgetary woes, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune looks at what cuts could be in store this time.

Will Texas Lawmakers Approve Casinos

Legislative leaders are not expected to push new taxes as a remedy to the coming shortfall, and yet social service advocates say the safety net can't afford any more cuts. So where might new money come from? In part four of his series on the state budget, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune looks at one option that could succeed or fail with a roll of the dice.

Will Texas Lawmakers Ever Consider an Income Tax

When the recession hit and people stopped shopping, sales tax dollars dried up quickly, contributing to the multibillion-dollar shortfall that lawmakers will soon face. What to do? Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune contemplates a hugely unpopular alternative.

Texas Legislature Reviews Sales Taxes Exemptions

State lawmakers are looking at several options to cover a $10 billion-plus biennial shortfall. One way is to raise more money — but that's never simple in tax-averse Texas. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune filed this second part of his week-long series on the budget.

Using Community Colleges to lower Higher Ed Costs

At the Texas Capitol today, lawmakers will begin to look at how the state’s community college system fits into the overall picture of higher education. The House Higher Education Committee will review ways to increase the role of community colleges — not only in getting kids to stay in school but in graduating them more quickly and efficiently. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Trib reports.

How'd Texas end up with a $15-billion budget hole

Even though we fared better than other states, lawmakers face a budget shortfall of $10 billion or more when they return to Austin in 2011. Ben Philpott — who covers politics and public policy for KUT News and the Tribune — looks at the shortfall and proposed solutions.

Texas GOP Runoff Opponents Exchange Blows

Perhaps it was inevitable: In the closing days of the run-up to runoff day, two of the Central Texas races — in House districts 47 and 52 — have turned ugly. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

Jack Goldsmith Talks on Executive Power

To the disappointment of some of his supporters, Barack Obama is prosecuting the War on Terror much as George W. Bush did — at least as it relates to matters like the capture of prisoners and their transfer abroad. Former White House Legal Advisor Jack Goldsmith, speaking at a symposium Thursday hosted by the University of Texas School of Law and the LBJ Library, said he isn't surprised that the previous administration's policies have carried over. Ben Philpott, covering politics for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.