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 ...

Emergency Services Agency Has Cash It Can't Spend

Recalled products, natural threats, choking hazards, and items that could cause emergencies when large amounts are ingested by children, are displayed at the South Texas Poison Center in San Antonio. Miguel Fernández, managing director of the center, is reflected in the display case glass.
Recalled products, natural threats, choking hazards, and items that could cause emergencies when large amounts are ingested by children, are displayed at the South Texas Poison Center in San Antonio. Miguel Fernández, managing director of the center, is reflected in the display case glass.

The agency that oversees the state’s 911 system and poison control centers has both too much money and not nearly enough. The state is sitting on more than $200 million collected from phone bill-paying Texans and earmarked specially for the agency — money that can’t be spent because it is being used in an accounting trick to balance the budget.

 

House members huddle at dais on February 14th, 2013
House members huddle at dais on February 14th, 2013

First Impressions

Texas Weekly

The Texas House is about to hold its first debate, and on a spending bill, to boot. It will pass, because it must. But watch how they work.

Rep. Jim Pitts R-Waxahachie, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, listens to Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer D-San Antonio on February 11th, 2013
Rep. Jim Pitts R-Waxahachie, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, listens to Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer D-San Antonio on February 11th, 2013

House Might Restore Some Education Budget Cuts

Members of the Texas House are in talks to add some money to public education in the current two-year budget. The Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from education last session. Budget writers say nearly $1 billion could be added to the current budget without triggering a constitutional limit on spending.

Good Times or Bad, the Texas Budget is Tight

When money was tight two years ago, the state's top budget writers employed cutbacks and accounting tricks to balance the budget. Money is flowing again, but the budget folks are still finding it easy to say no, saying they're blocked by lawmakers' promises not to spend faster than inflation and to use the state's Rainy Day Fund sparingly.

In his Jan. 29, 2013, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.
In his Jan. 29, 2013, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.

Searching for Clues in Perry's State of the State

The governor stayed away from social issues and some obvious hot-button topics in his State of the State speech this week. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a political speech. He discussed fiscal issues that have been a focus of some conservatives and renewed his vows to battle the federal government on health care.

TribLive at the Austin Club featuring State Sen. Tommy Williams and State Rep. Jim Pitts on financial issues facing the 83rd Texas Legislature.
TribLive at the Austin Club featuring State Sen. Tommy Williams and State Rep. Jim Pitts on financial issues facing the 83rd Texas Legislature.

Pitts and Williams Say School Funding Debate Can Wait

Ongoing school finance litigation will likely prevent the Legislature from discussing education funding issues this session, two Republican budget leaders said at a TribLive event Thursday. 

Charting the Budget

Texas Weekly

The first budgets from the House and Senate are out, marked by their authors as mere starting points. Here's how they compare to each other, and to the current budget.

In his Jan. 29, 2013, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.
In his Jan. 29, 2013, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.

Perry Talks Water, Tax Relief in State of the State

In his seventh State of the State address, Gov. Rick Perry ignored a number of controversial issues and urged state lawmakers to do the nitty gritty work of government: fund water projects, build more roads, improve education and make the budget more transparent.

Interactive: A Closer Look at Texas' Base Budgets

The Texas Senate and House have released their first drafts of the state's next two-year budget. Lawmakers in both chambers say they wrote lean drafts to give lawmakers the chance to debate how they might use the Rainy Day Fund and other available pots of revenue. Use this interactive to explore how state spending has grown since 2004.

Inside Intelligence: About That Money...

Texas Weekly

For this week's nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked questions about the budget, about how lawmakers will spend the money they've got, the chances for a business tax, and the outlook for proposals to trim economic development funds in the governor's office and curtail tricks and diversions used to balance the state's books.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/7/13

Batheja on growing calls for infrastructure spending, Dehn and Rocha report on voters’ legislative wishes, Murphy counts noses in the new Legislature, KUT’s Philpott sniffs out a push for tax relief, M. Smith tracks House Speaker Joe Straus after his re-election, Kalifa’s lovely time-lapse look at the Legislature’s first day, Aaronson on the Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on hopes for immigration reform, Grissom on the tribulations of Kerry Max Cook, Hamilton looks into a college curriculum battle, and E. Smith’s TribLive interview with Michael Williams: The best of our best for the week of Jan. 7, 2013.