The Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to balance its budget every year without borrowing against future receipts. That bars the government from deficit spending and forces lawmakers, who meet for 20 weeks every two years, to constantly balance demands for programs and services against voters' desire to limit taxes, fees and other costs of government.
The Legislative Budget Board — a ...
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.Full Story
A coalition of conservative groups set forth a strict proposal for the state’s fiscal future, emphasizing hard spending caps to limit the size of government, with the release Tuesday of a budget report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation.Full Story
All of the experts say the state has plenty of tax revenue coming in, thanks to the oil and gas industry and a thriving economy. Even so, lawmakers are asking state agencies to propose budget cuts before next year's legislative session. It's a normal exercise started in years when the state's revenues were in much worse shape.Full Story
Lawmakers have a hard job when money is tight and they're writing state budgets. It's even harder when they have all the money they need: The competition isn't just between programs and services; it's between programs and services and tax cuts.Full Story
At our 4/17 TribLive conversation, Mike Collier, the Democratic nominee for Texas comptroller in 2014, talked about how he'd produce a more accurate estimate of state revenue — and why it's important.Full Story
Not everybody who is upset with property taxes wants them abolished. A new group that started in Houston wants to increase appraised values on commercial property. Their contention is that business property owners have been more successful at keeping their values — and their taxes — low.Full Story
With expectations that state lawmakers will have a budget surplus of several billion dollars, lawmakers, activists and business groups are already discussing what to do with the money. While some are arguing for tax relief, others say the state has unmet needs in transportation and education that need to be addressed.Full Story
Replacing property taxes in Texas with sales taxes sounds simple, but would have huge consequences for the state's school districts and for other governments whose local control goes along with their property taxes. In politics, nothing is as simple as it sounds.Full Story
At Thursday's TribLive conversation, Debra Medina, a candidate for Texas comptroller in 2014, talked about a possible shift away from property taxes and toward sales taxes — and the implications for the state budget.Full Story
Texas ended its fiscal year in September with a $2.6 billion surplus and lawmakers could enter the 2015 legislative session with $8 billion in its Rainy Day Fund, Comptroller Susan Combs reported Thursday.Full Story
The state's proposal to convert some paved roads back to gravel has invisible counterparts in other areas of the state budget. But roads are right there, every day with all their potholes, construction projects and worsening traffic jams as more people flow into Texas. That visibility makes a difference.Full Story
Most state lawmakers have been focusing on transportation funding these days. But several of them have their eyes on a different prize: convincing voters to support putting dollars aside for water projects.
Texas legislators might eventually get the transportation funding bill the governor asked them for, but it's not the stuff parades are made of: They've already blown two chances.Full Story
This summer’s debate on abortion restrictions turned entirely on politics. It wasn’t about money. But the state's abortion and health care policies intersect in the budget — even though that might not always be part of the debate — and the budget is where the impact of decisions on abortion and Medicaid will be revealed.Full Story
When a fellow senator voted against the state budget because certain programs weren't funded, he forgot to mention that he was directly responsible for those funding decisions.Full Story
Texas voters favor banning abortions after 20 weeks of a pregnancy, but they remain split on the permissibility of abortions in the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.Full Story
Gov. Rick Perry is pushing back against conservative critics who say the state budget is growing too fast. Perry is still analyzing the legislation, but his strong defense of it was the clearest signal yet that he plans to sign the two-year, $197 billion appropriations bill into law.Full Story
A plan to fund Texas highway construction by diverting half of the money that currently feeds the state's Rainy Day Fund could find new life in a special session.Full Story
Lawmakers raced to get several bills passed before the 83rd Legislature's regular session ended. And with Monday's announcement of a special session, their work isn't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short in the regular session.Full Story