ECONOMY

Uber, Lyft Back in House Headlights

Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.
Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.

Another round of sparring between Texas cities and car service companies Lyft and Uber played out on Tuesday, when a panel of Texas lawmakers considered letting cities regulate Lyft and Uber the same way they regulate cab companies.

Short on Votes to Tighten Spending Cap, Senate Built a New One

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick touted legislation to exempt tax cuts from counting toward the state spending limit at a Capitol press conference on March 10, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick touted legislation to exempt tax cuts from counting toward the state spending limit at a Capitol press conference on March 10, 2015.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Republicans had hoped to amend the Texas Constitution to tighten the state's spending cap. Short of the needed votes, they passed a measure creating a new cap in state law instead.

Senate Passes Bill That Would Tighten Spending Cap

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would tighten the state's constitutional spending cap and make it tougher for future legislatures to break it. Senate Bill 9, by Sen. Kelly Hancock, passed with a vote of 19-12. 

 

Bettencourt Softens Bill to Limit Property Tax Growth

Texas State Sen.-elect Paul Bettencourt during the What the Tea Party Wants panel at The Texas Tribune's On the Road: A Symposium Previewing the 84th Legislature on Dec. 5, 2014.
Texas State Sen.-elect Paul Bettencourt during the What the Tea Party Wants panel at The Texas Tribune's On the Road: A Symposium Previewing the 84th Legislature on Dec. 5, 2014.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, wants to make cities and counties ask voters for permission to enact tax rates that allow overall property tax revenue from existing homes and businesses to rise more than 6 percent.

Background Checks Drive Uber Debate

Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.
Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.

One week after an Uber driver in Houston was charged with sexually assaulting a passenger, a panel of Texas lawmakers on Thursday considered a bill critics say will open the door for more criminals to slip past driver background checks.

Bonnen's $4.9 Billion Tax Cut Plan Targets Sales Taxes

Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.
Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, laid out a $4.9 billion tax cut plan Wednesday featuring cuts in sales taxes and business taxes. The Senate's plan cuts business taxes and property taxes.

 

House Approves $503 Million Boost to Current Budget

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015.  Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015. Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.

After an 18-hour marathon Tuesday night to sign off on a $210 billion two-year state budget, lawmakers were back in the Texas House on Wednesday afternoon for a bit of unfinished business: plugging holes in the current budget.

 

Powdered Alcohol Ban Sent to Full House

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, talks with colleagues on the floor during discussion on school finance Friday afternoon May 27, 2011.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, talks with colleagues on the floor during discussion on school finance Friday afternoon May 27, 2011.

Texas has joined a growing number of states moving quickly to outlaw powdered alcohol, a new product that health officials say could make it easier for minors to conceal and consume alcohol.