Ross Ramsey Executive Editor

Ross Ramsey Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ramsey was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and the agency’s director of communications. Before that, Ramsey reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper’s Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ramsey got his start in journalism in broadcasting, working for almost seven years covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Recent Contributions

All Fall Down

Texas Weekly

He's still the lead gorilla, but House Speaker Tom Craddick is no longer a 900-pounder. More like 300. And the adage about 900-pound gorillas sleeping "wherever they want to" applies here, too. A 300-pounder has to pick his way through the band, lest one of his 250-pound colleagues turn into an open rival.

The Briar Patch

Texas Weekly

It's hard to explain just how things in the Senate got the way they are, but you can mark the beginning. Last Spring, senators figured out how to maneuver around Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst while they were passing a new business tax bill and approving legislation to replace local property tax money in public schools with state money.

Catch and Release

Texas Weekly

Corrections to a tax bill could save thousands of small businesses in Texas from the gross receipts tax approved by lawmakers a year ago. Lawmakers might raise the minimum revenue requirements, letting more companies escape the new levy.

Crunch City

Texas Weekly

When this last break of the legislative session is over next week, there will be seven weeks left in the 80th regular session of the Texas Legislature. And you know, even if you're new to this, that the rules start killing things before the last day.

Spending Time

Texas Weekly

The House kicked out its budget early Friday morning after 18 hours of debate; the Senate Finance Committee planned to send its version to the printers a few hours later. Put the Senate plan in play the week after the Easter break, and the conference committee that really writes the budget will get started.

Record Spending, Record Restraint

Texas Weekly

A $150.1 billion state budget is on its way to the full House, which already approved another $14.2 billion spending plan for school finance. Those bills, along with a "supplement" appropriations bill to patch thin spots in the current budget, would bring state spending for the next two years to about $164.3 billion, up from $144.6 billion in the current budget.

Bummer, Dude

Texas Weekly

Pity Tom Pauken. The Dallas lawyer tapped to head a task force on property tax reform turned in his report in January, with plenty of time for lawmakers to work on it. The governor listed property tax reform as a priority in all of his pre-session interviews with reporters. The Guv mentioned it again in his state of the state speech.

Wanna Bet?

Texas Weekly

Legislation that would expand legal gambling on two fronts while also funding a quarter of a million college scholarships could go to voters if two-thirds of the Texas Legislature approves.

Push Back

Texas Weekly

Rick Perry and George W. Bush are the only recent governors to stay in office long enough to name every member of every board and commission — every appointed official. It takes six straight years in office to go all the way through the batting order, and when a governor is done, it all belongs, for better or for worse, to that governor.

A Persistent and Spreading Affliction

Texas Weekly

The call for a mandated vaccine against HPV in pre-teen girls might get the opposite result. A House committee voted this week to make it against the law to mandate the shots. The only company with a government-approved vaccination said it'd stop its 50-state lobbying effort on the drug. The issue leapt from Texas to national news and talk shows and all that in a matter of days and — more importantly — stayed there. And Gov. Rick Perry's power to issue executive orders found a tall speed bump in an Austin courtroom, when a state district judge said —in an unrelated case — that a state agency isn't required to follow Perry's orders.

Never Say Always

Texas Weekly

It's usually true that the Lege is a slow-moving machine, but not always. Look at the moves to jump around constitutional constraints on increased state spending: Mired two weeks ago, coupled with a tax break for elderly homeowners one week ago, and now out of the Senate, out of the House Appropriations Committee and on its way to a floor vote next week.

Need to Hide Something Big?

Texas Weekly

Ask Gov. Rick Perry for advice. He managed to bury headline-grabbing proposals for the sale of the state lottery, a $3 billion war on cancer, $100 million for border security, a $2.5 billion tax rebate, and health care for up to two million of the state's working poor behind a vaccine for pre-teen girls against a sexually transmitted disease.

Real Soon Now

Texas Weekly

The last act, usually, of the "fixin' to fixin' to" phase of every legislative session is the governor's State of the State speech. They're hard to remember, for the most part, because the Legislature has a tradition of listening politely, clapping a lot, and then ignoring some or all of the items on a given governor's wish list. But some of it gets into the wiring, and into the ears of lawmakers and even, sometimes, the public.