Tribpedia: Budget

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 ...

Texas House GOP Caucus Endorses Sales Tax Cuts

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, discusses his border security bill.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, discusses his border security bill.

With the Texas House set to vote on tax cuts, almost all of the Republicans in that chamber — 90 of 98 — signed a letter released Saturday endorsing sales tax cuts over the property tax cuts favored by the Texas Senate. "Unlike property tax cuts, which cost the state budget and grow in cost with time, the sales tax reduction simply means the state collects less," they wrote. 

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.

Analysis: A Senate Trying to Regulate Its Own Spending

The Texas Senate wants to limit growth in the state budget — by adding a fifth spending limit to state law. In addition to the current limit commonly referred to as the state's spending cap, there are also limits on issuing debt, on certain assistance grants and on spending more than what lawmakers have.

Gov. Greg Abbott holds a press conference with Ellen Wood, president and CEO of vcfo on his plans to greatly reduce the Texas business franchise tax, on April 15, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott holds a press conference with Ellen Wood, president and CEO of vcfo on his plans to greatly reduce the Texas business franchise tax, on April 15, 2015.

Analysis: Abbott Wants a Tax Cut Without Picking Sides

As the House and Senate continue their "robust discussion" over whether to cut sales or property taxes, Gov. Greg Abbott touted his own preference, along with a way to avoid the fight: business tax cuts, along with whatever legislators decide.

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, lays out the property tax relief portion of Senate Bill 1 for final passage in the Senate on March 25, 2015.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, lays out the property tax relief portion of Senate Bill 1 for final passage in the Senate on March 25, 2015.

Texas Senate Approves $211 Billion Budget

Senators on Tuesday voted 30-1 to approve the state's two-year budget plan. Now, attention will turn to reconciling differences with the House on budget issues involving taxes, border security and the Texas Racing Commission.

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.

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

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.

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.

Senate Passes Bill That Would Tighten Spending Cap

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, proposed by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, passed with a vote of 19-12. Sen. Kevin Eltife was the only Republican to vote against the measure. 

State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, speaks during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on April 9, 2015.
State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, speaks during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on April 9, 2015.

Analysis: Something More Conservative Than Tax Cuts?

As the House and Senate engage in what state Sen. Kevin Eltife calls "a bidding war" over cuts to sales and property taxes, the Tyler Republican is sticking to his guns: He thinks lawmakers should look at neglected projects before they cut 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.

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

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. And watch our livestream of the House floor debate on pre-K legislation here.

 

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.

House Approves $503 Million Boost to Current Budget

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.

 

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.

Efforts to Divert Border Security Funding Mostly Fall Flat

House Democrats tried – and mostly failed – to divert funds allotted for border security and the Texas Department of Public Safety to other departments during Tuesday’s budget debate. But the rancor over immigration enforcement that many expected didn’t materialize after lawmakers agreed to pull down amendments.