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 ...

State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, pauses during Memorial Day services in the House chamber on Saturday that honored fallen Texas soldiers.
State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, pauses during Memorial Day services in the House chamber on Saturday that honored fallen Texas soldiers.

Liveblog: Texas Legislature Passes $15 Billion In Cuts

Texas lawmakers passed a two-year state budget on Saturday that cuts $15.2 billion from current spending — most of that in health and human services — but avoids increased taxes and leaves $6.5 billion untouched in the state's Rainy Day Fund. The vote in the House was 97-53 and 20-11 in the Senate. Click here to read our reports from both chambers as the debate unfolded. 

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts (l), R-Waxahachie, and Senate Finance Chaigman Steve Ogden (r), R-Bryan, talk to the press after the conference committee vote on HB1 on May 26, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts (l), R-Waxahachie, and Senate Finance Chaigman Steve Ogden (r), R-Bryan, talk to the press after the conference committee vote on HB1 on May 26, 2011.

In Texas, a Businesslike Budget, After a Fashion

When Texas lawmakers said they wanted to run government like a business, they left out the part about using Enron and Countrywide as their models.

Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden (l), R-Bryan, and State Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), share a laugh after the Appropriations Conference Committee passed out HB1 on a 9-1 vote on May 26, 2011.
Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden (l), R-Bryan, and State Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), share a laugh after the Appropriations Conference Committee passed out HB1 on a 9-1 vote on May 26, 2011.

Texas Budget Negotiators Pass $15 Billion in Cuts

Budget negotiators adopted a report Thursday that cuts state spending by $15 billion. The measure is scheduled for a vote on the House and Senate floors as early as Saturday afternoon. Key fiscal bills, including SB 1811, must still be passed to fund the budget.

Rep. Rob Eissler R-The Woodlands, Public Education Committee Charman,  speaks to reporters on May 23rd, 2011
Rep. Rob Eissler R-The Woodlands, Public Education Committee Charman, speaks to reporters on May 23rd, 2011

Budget Notes: Racing to Finish School Finance

One day after the education fiscal bill, SB 1581, died on the floor of the House, lawmakers are scrambling to reach a deal and keep the budget bill, HB 1, on track for approval by both chambers before the weekend deadline. The governor is among the optimists who think they'll finish their work without going into overtime.

Rep. Sylvester Turner D-Houston, speaks with Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan during finance committee hearing on May 23rd, 2011
Rep. Sylvester Turner D-Houston, speaks with Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan during finance committee hearing on May 23rd, 2011

Budget Notes: Ogden, Pitts Plan Weekend Vote

The lead budget writers from the House and Senate answered questions about the budget they've agreed upon, admitting they don't have all of the details yet and saying they could vote on the final plan this coming weekend.

Rep. Sylvester Turner D-Houston, speaks with Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan during finance committee hearing on May 23rd, 2011
Rep. Sylvester Turner D-Houston, speaks with Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan during finance committee hearing on May 23rd, 2011

Budget Negotiators Agree on Education Funding

House and Senate negotiators agreed on spending on education, state salaries and benefits this morning and hope to have the final vote on the 2012-13 budget sometime this weekend.

No Clear Signals on Budget, UT/TT Poll Finds

Four months of hearing about the state's budget problems hasn't changed the minds of Texas voters. According to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, registered voters still want lawmakers to cut the budget, but they still oppose the major cuts in education and health and human services that cutting the budget requires.

Dr. Eva Garza-Nyer, a college counselor assisting Max Garcia and Znobea Williams on financial aids acceptance.
Dr. Eva Garza-Nyer, a college counselor assisting Max Garcia and Znobea Williams on financial aids acceptance.

Texas Students Wait for Word on College Grants

The Texas Legislature made a promise to the state’s most financially needy high school seniors in 1999: Money will not be a barrier to your higher education at a public college or university if you stay out of trouble, complete certain courses and graduate from high school. But the budget crisis has thrown that pledge into question, and thousands of students have put their college plans on hold for now. 

State Sen. Steve Ogden (l), R-Bryan, talks with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (r) during debate on SB1581 a fiscal matters bill in the Texas Senate chamber on May 20, 2011.
State Sen. Steve Ogden (l), R-Bryan, talks with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (r) during debate on SB1581 a fiscal matters bill in the Texas Senate chamber on May 20, 2011.

The Budget: Where Everything Stands

Where did the time go? Texas legislators are a mere nine days away from the end of the session and still have to finish work on several bills to finish up their budget for the two-year period that starts September 1.

State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, holds his bill book while listening to evening debate on SB1811 in the Texas House on May 20, 2011.
State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, holds his bill book while listening to evening debate on SB1811 in the Texas House on May 20, 2011.

Texas Budget Update: House Passes Key Bill

After days of debate, the House finally passed a key fiscal matters bill — Senate Bill 1811 — that raises necessary funds to balance the proposed budget.

State Sen. Steve Ogden (r) chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, visits in the House chamber with State Rep. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, while he waits to visit with State Rep. Jim Pitts on May 18, 2011.
State Sen. Steve Ogden (r) chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, visits in the House chamber with State Rep. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, while he waits to visit with State Rep. Jim Pitts on May 18, 2011.

Texas Budget Stalls Over Education, Funding Sources

After a chaotic day of stops and starts and private meetings, Texas lawmakers don't have a budget deal yet. Unless key pieces of legislation are passed soon, lawmakers are almost guaranteed to be back this summer for a special session.

Video: Ogden- Special Session Likely

Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, says there is still no consensus on education funding or SB 1811, a revenue bill that would balance the state budget. Meanwhile, GOP members of the House left a caucus meeting without divulging details of what they discussed and then the House postponed consideration of two fiscal bills critical to the budget until tomorrow. "So, we're stuck," Ogden said.

Liveblog: Will Texas House Take Up Fiscal Bills?

State reps will try to  hang a grab bag of amendments onto Senate Bills 1811 and 1581 — two critical pieces of legislation the House takes up today that could determine whether a budget is passed and a special session averted — because the bills are broadly defined as “relating to certain fiscal matters.” Check back here for our liveblog of the action on the floor. 

State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, speaks to the press after the Senate session on May 16, 2011.
State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, speaks to the press after the Senate session on May 16, 2011.

Ogden, Straus Differ on State Budget Progress

As of Wednesday afternoon, two powerful budget figures differed on the status of the budget process. Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, accused the House of postponing important votes on SB 1811 and SB 1581. Speaker Joe Straus tried to ease the tension by stating, "We've been close, but we're not there." 

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking to the press about budget and education matters on May 17, 2011.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking to the press about budget and education matters on May 17, 2011.

Budget Leaders: It's Up to the Texas House

If the House doesn't pass legislation that adds $2.6 billion to state revenue with a mix of delayed payments, increased penalties, government efficiencies and the like, the state budget won't balance and a special session will probably be required, House and Senate leaders said today.

Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, ponders Democratic speeches before the vote on the Senate budget bill May 4, 2011.
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, ponders Democratic speeches before the vote on the Senate budget bill May 4, 2011.

Senate Votes $4 Billion From Rainy Day Fund for Deficit

The Texas Senate approved a $3.97 billion draw on the state's Rainy Day Fund to cover a deficit of the same size in the current budget, but not before rejecting efforts to add on a larger amount to help balance the 2012-13 budget.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 5/2/11

Aaronson on the latest attack on Planned Parenthood, Aguilar previews the sanctuary cities debate, Grissom on a death row inmate's unsuccessful appeal, Hamilton on the UT System's faculty "productivity" data dump, Philpott on the prospect of lawsuits over education cuts, Ramsey on puppies and other distractions, Ramshaw on a tobacco fight, my interview with the presidents of UT-Austin and Texas A&M, M. Smith on a former State Board of Ed member who may have violated state ethics law, Stiles interactively displays the effects of House redistricting and Tan on the Senate budget end game: The best of our best content from May 2 to 6, 2011.

House Appropriations Committee chairman, State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie (r), listens to debate on HB1 conferee's instructions on May 6, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee chairman, State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie (r), listens to debate on HB1 conferee's instructions on May 6, 2011.

House Sets Budget Negotiating Rules

The House is sending its five budget conferees — Reps. Jim Pitts, John Otto, Sylvester Turner, John Zerwas and Myra Crownover — off to negotiate with the Senate, but they want to tie their hands on certain issues, instructing them on what's acceptable to add, subtract, or leave alone when they talk with the other side.

Special Interest Ads Focus on Budget

The Texas Senate passed a budget this week for the next biennium, but only after they nearly suffered a meltdown. This is unusual for a chamber known for being more insulated and collegial than the 150-member House. For the first time this session, Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said outside groups have been able to intervene in the upper chamber's process in a way they never have before. The budget bill they passed along straight party lines on Wednesday may be a reflection of that growing influence. 

Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, ponders Democratic speeches before the vote on the Senate budget bill May 4, 2011.
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, ponders Democratic speeches before the vote on the Senate budget bill May 4, 2011.

Procedural Move Allows GOP to Pass Senate Budget

The $176 billion dollar budget makes cuts to all state agencies, but does spend about $12 billion more than the House does in its bill. The budget passed along party lines, with all 19 Republicans voting for the bill and the 12 Democrats voting against.

Full Video: TPPF's Higher Ed Reform Panel

At a panel hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Bill Powers, the president of the University of Texas, and Robert Strawser, an accounting professor at Texas A&M University and the speaker of its faculty senate, responded to the conservative think tank's proposed higher education reforms. They were defended by Ronald Trowbridge, a senior fellow at TPPF and a former vice president of Hillsdale College in Michigan. Here is the full video.