Tribpedia: 2011 Budget Shortfall

Tribpedia

A budget shortfall as high as $27 billion is projected as lawmakers work through the 2011 legislative session, according to estimates from economists and the comptroller's office. There is unity on the amount of its budget shortfall, however. Republicans who argue spending does not need to be maintained or grow from 2010-11 levels argue the shortfall could be around ...

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Comptroller Study Shows Difficulty of Predicting Future

Comptroller Susan Combs’ office recently researched the accuracy of tax revenue estimates going back 40 years.
Comptroller Susan Combs’ office recently researched the accuracy of tax revenue estimates going back 40 years.

The comptroller's office recently researched the accuracy of its two-year revenue estimates going back 40 years and five comptrollers. Comptroller Susan Combs' 2011 forecast, which underestimated state revenue by billions of dollars, has become an issue in this year's race to replace her.

Fourth and fifth grade students at the Austin Discovery School.
Fourth and fifth grade students at the Austin Discovery School.

The Polling Center: No Backlash to Education Cuts?

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Polling over the last two years from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune suggests that education has not become more salient to Texas voters, nor have perceptions of school quality suffered significantly.

House Appropriations Committee chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, looks at the voting board as the House passes HB1 the state budget, 97-53, late in the evening on May 28, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, looks at the voting board as the House passes HB1 the state budget, 97-53, late in the evening on May 28, 2011.

House Committee Backs Budget With More School Funding

The $193.8 billion budget approved by the House Appropriations Committee includes an extra $2.5 billion for public education. The bill is smaller than the Senate budget by about $1.7 billion.

Teacher Silvia Corado works with students in her pre-kindergarten class as they learn syllables and word identification, part of the Summer Bilingual Academy at Wilson Elementary School in San Antonio.
Teacher Silvia Corado works with students in her pre-kindergarten class as they learn syllables and word identification, part of the Summer Bilingual Academy at Wilson Elementary School in San Antonio.

San Antonio May Seek Tax to Support Full-Day Pre-K

After the Legislature cut more than $200 million in grants that supported full-day public pre-kindergarten in the state, San Antonio is contemplating an eighth-of-a-cent sales tax increase to fund full-day pre-K programs for primarily low-income children in the city. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Looks to Rebound

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is still feeling the effects of last year's wildfires, drought and budget cuts, but officials say the situation is improving with increased park attendance and donations. That rebound could be in trouble, though, if funding is cut in next year's legislative session.

Interactive: Texas Budget Cuts Shrink State Government

With the state government tightening its belt, there are now 10,200 fewer state employees, according to an analysis of data collected by the state auditor’s office. This interactive shows how budget cuts have affected employment at state-funded entities from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 to the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

State Spends Big to Pay Workers for Unused Vacation

State agencies have paid fired or resigning state employees more than $500 million in unused vacation time over the last decade — and such payouts jump dramatically during big layoff years. Critics say the spending is ridiculous during tough budget times; state workers argue agencies are so understaffed that they can’t take time off.

TribYear: Top Texas News of 2011

In the spirit of TribWeek and TribMonth, we present TribYear: 10 of our best stories of 2011 — from the budget-whacking legislative session to emergency room mistakes, education accountability and a Williamson County man exonerated after spending nearly 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for his wife's murder.

More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.
More than half of the patients at Cedar View Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center rely on Medicaid.

Day 31: Texas Nursing Homes Brace for Higher Costs, Sicker Patients

Throughout August, the Tribune is featuring 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature take effect. DAY 31: Nursing homes were spared the draconian cuts proposed by lawmakers at the beginning of the 2011 session. Still, despite growing caseloads and rising medical costs, they move forward with less state and federal support.  


During the 2011 legislative session, lawmakers voted to reduce reimbursement rates to hospitals around Texas. As a result, East Texas Medical Center in Athens plans to downgrade its trauma center from Level III to Level IV.
During the 2011 legislative session, lawmakers voted to reduce reimbursement rates to hospitals around Texas. As a result, East Texas Medical Center in Athens plans to downgrade its trauma center from Level III to Level IV.

Day 7: East Texas Hospital Will Downgrade Its Trauma Center

Throughout August, The Texas Tribune will feature 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature — including the dramatically reduced budget — take effect. DAY 7 of our 31-day series on the effects of new state laws and budget cuts: Facing reduced reimbursement rates, the East Texas Medical Center will downgrade its Athens trauma center from Level III to Level IV.

Day 5: Budget Cuts Final Straw for Air Ambulance

Throughout August, The Texas Tribune will feature 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature — including the dramatically reduced budget — take effect. DAY 5: The Rio Grande Valley’s longest-running helicopter ambulance will be permanently grounded this fall, and state budget cuts were the final straw.

Karen Godfrey and her two sons Timothy Godfrey, and Zachary Munn draw and play together with Ishele Graves and her daughter Mikaela Massey at Bluebonnet Trails Community Services in Round Rock, TX.
Karen Godfrey and her two sons Timothy Godfrey, and Zachary Munn draw and play together with Ishele Graves and her daughter Mikaela Massey at Bluebonnet Trails Community Services in Round Rock, TX.

At Texas Mental Health Center, Smaller Cuts Still Sting

Six months ago, mental health service provider Bluebonnet Trails expected to cut services to more than 2,000 people because of state budget reductions. That number turned out to be less than 500, but the cuts still hurt.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry blows a kiss to his Secretary of State Hope Andrade (not shown) during his speech to the National Assn. of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) in San Antonio on June 23, 2011.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry blows a kiss to his Secretary of State Hope Andrade (not shown) during his speech to the National Assn. of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) in San Antonio on June 23, 2011.

Rick Perry: Deft Leader or Teflon Governor?

Conservatives — even some who aren't happy with the session's outcomes — generally praise Gov. Rick Perry. He's got a knack for keeping the factions in the party happy, or at least subdued in their criticism. Attribute it to a Teflon coating, to his decisive win in a divided primary last year, or to luck, but Perry is coming out of the legislative session without many bruises.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 6/13/11

Aaronson and Murphy visualize what happened to the nearly 5,800 bills introduced in the 82nd Lege Session, Aaronson, Hasson and Swicegood interactively recap the budget battle, Aguliar on the surge in illegal re-entry cases prosecuted by the Obama administration, Galbraith on a coal plant that wants a water deal from the LCRA, Grissom interviews a man wrongly imprisoned and nearly executed — twice, Hamilton on a controversial UT regent who wants a do-over in the debate over higher ed reform, Ramshaw on the continuing fight over pre-abortion sonograms, Root on Rick Perry's newsmaking trip to NYC and M. Smith on whether cash-strapped school districts will raise taxes: The best of our best content from June 13 to 17, 2011.

Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, at a TribLive event on April 28, 2011.
Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, at a TribLive event on April 28, 2011.

UT President Bill Powers Discusses Budget Cuts

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One certain result of the 82nd Legislative Session is that the University of Texas at Austin will lose a signfiicant amount of funding in the 2012-2013 budget. Nathan Bernier of KUT News interviewed UT-Austin President Bill Powers on the effects of that cut and other session-related matters.