GOVERNMENT: State Agencies

House Plan Would Plug Hole in Pension Fund

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

Texas House leaders unveiled a plan Tuesday to shore up the state's chronically underfunded retirement system for employees that requires workers to pay more into the system, but gives them a pay raise to offset the cost.

 

Film Groups Want Separate Funding for Video Games

Naveen Nattam (l) Sean Riley (r) play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin. Texas is second in the nation for video game industry employment and promoting further growth with incentives and training.
Naveen Nattam (l) Sean Riley (r) play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin. Texas is second in the nation for video game industry employment and promoting further growth with incentives and training.

Texas film heavyweights are asking lawmakers to create a separate funding strategy for video game incentives instead of continuing shared funding with film and television incentives. The video game lobby isn't ready for a split.

Racing Commission Still at Risk of Being Cut Off

State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.
State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.

Hell hath no fury like a Senate scorned, the head of the Texas Racing Commission found Wednesday when he tried to make peace with the Senate Finance Committee. The commission ignored lawmakers on a key racing vote, and its budget remains zeroed out. 

Was 21CT Contract Built on Lie to Feds?

Former HHSC Inspector General Doug Wilson, left, and his former second-in-command, Jack Stick.
Former HHSC Inspector General Doug Wilson, left, and his former second-in-command, Jack Stick.

When the Texas Health and Human Services Commission asked the federal government for $18 million to foot most of the bill for new Medicaid fraud tracking software, it assured Washington counterparts the deal had been competitively bid. That was not true.

Investigators Got Badges; Taxpayers Got the Bill

A photo of one of the $80 badges ordered by Jack Stick (left) when he was HHSC deputy inspector general.
A photo of one of the $80 badges ordered by Jack Stick (left) when he was HHSC deputy inspector general.

Emblems of Jack Stick’s days as the state health agency's deputy inspector general remain: roughly 300 high-dollar badges he designed and ordered for his investigators at a cost to taxpayers of $36,000.