Tribpedia: Budget

Tribpedia

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 ...

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Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

Texas Senate, Facing Tight Budget, Hunts for Revenue

The Texas Senate isn’t allowed to raise money. It’s right there in the state’s Constitution, which says all revenue bills must originate in the House. But there it goes, looking for “non-tax revenues” that could be used to put enough meat on the skimpy proposed budget to get senators to vote for it.

Beaumont attorney Micheal Getz is running for city council and a vocal opponent of the school board.
Beaumont attorney Micheal Getz is running for city council and a vocal opponent of the school board.

Deep Rift in Beaumont, Texas, on School Leadership

Beaumont's Carrol A. Thomas, who was widely praised when first hired, has recently become the focus of criticism for his leadership — criticism his supporters say is racially motivated. In May, residents will vote on a ballot initiative to make two of the school board’s seven seats at-large positions, which some view as an opportunity to reclaim control of an institution still central to the life of a struggling city.

State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, lays out House Bill 1.
State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, lays out House Bill 1.

Texas Lawmakers Send Budget Bill to Floor

Wednesday proved a pivotal day for lawmakers in the budget-writing process. As the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to move the 2012-13 budget bill to the floor for a vote, Senate lawmakers hinted they are looking to spend more than their counterparts on public education — setting the stage for a budget battle. 

Infographic: Rainy Day Politics In Texas

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Should legislators tap the Rainy Day Fund to cover this year's $4.3 billion deficit — and should they resort to it again to help close a massive shortfall in the next biennium's budget? As lawmakers draft their 2012-13 budgets, use our infographic to understand the intent of the Rainy Day Fund, what it takes to draw from it, and the political arguments for and against using it. 

Governor Rick Perry book signing at the Dell Diamond
Governor Rick Perry book signing at the Dell Diamond

Who Will Be Blamed for Big Cuts in School Funding?

Relocating the blame for public education cuts isn’t going to be an easy sales job. The school districts are simultaneously losing money from both of their main sources of revenue — state financing and revenue from local property taxes. And while many have money in the bank, their immediate financial futures aren’t promising.

Deuell: Make Cuts, but Raise Taxes Too

State Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, would rather raise taxes a little bit than make the cuts lawmakers are considering now, he told the Tribune this evening. Deuell has been a proponent of a 10-cent increase in gasoline taxes for some time — since before his Republican primary and general election victories last year — and said he would support a broader sales tax too. "We're the 45th-lowest tax state," he said. "I'm not chomping at the bit to be number 44, but we're a low-tax state and we've got people in need."

People with disabilities rally at Texas Capitol opposing budget cuts to home and community-based services. March 1st, 2011
People with disabilities rally at Texas Capitol opposing budget cuts to home and community-based services. March 1st, 2011

Disability Advocates: "No Cuts! No Cuts!"

Disability advocates gathered at the Capitol today to call on lawmakers to use the Rainy Day Fund, to raise new revenue and above all else to not cut community-based services for the disabled. Over and over again the crowd chanted, "No cuts! No cuts!"

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/21/11

Our latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll on the budgetimmigration and gambling, Galbraith on the doubts raised by power blackouts, M. Smith on efforts to get state backing for charter school debt, Ramshaw talks Medicaid with state Rep. Garnet Coleman, Musa on what cuts would do to the Texas Youth Commission, E. Smith's TribLive interview with three freshman state reps, Aaronson on sonograms-before-abortions legislation, Grissom on the largest mental health institution in the state — the Harris County Jail, and a big update to our government employee payroll database: The best of our best content from Feb. 21 to 25, 2011.

Jail officials across Texas are worried that state budget cuts to community-based mental health care services will mean more mentally ill inmates in their facilities.
Jail officials across Texas are worried that state budget cuts to community-based mental health care services will mean more mentally ill inmates in their facilities.

Mental Health Cuts Would Strain Local Texas Jails

As lawmakers consider funding cuts to deal with the state's massive budget shortfall, local officials across Texas are concerned that proposed reductions in community-based mental health treatment will mean more mentally ill Texans are likely to end up on the streets, in emergency rooms and behind bars, where it will cost local taxpayers even more to care for them.

Voices of the Mentally Ill

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As lawmakers consider cutting community-based mental health care services by about 20 percent in the 2012-2013 budget, the Texas Tribune talks with mentally ill Harris County Jail inmates and with consumers who use community-based services to stay out of jail and off the streets.

Texplainer: Can Wisconsin Happen Here?

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Gov. Scott Walker should come to Texas, where much of what he’s seeking already exists. The right to bargain collectively isn’t allowed among state employees, and no public employee in Texas may legally go on strike. 

"Rube Goldberg" School Finance System Faces New Test

Cutting $10 billion from the state’s bill for public education could push more than two-dozen school districts from the group that receives state financing into the group that writes checks to the state to even things out between richer and poorer districts. That’s dangerous political territory, but familiar terrain for Texas lawmakers.

Texas Comptroller Hunts Amazon for Tax Money

Comptroller Susan Combs says Amazon owes $269 million in sales taxes. The company says it will close its warehouse and fire its Texas employees if the state doesn't back down. The two sides are in the early stages of a legal fight over the money and the bigger question about who's required to collect taxes in Texas. State officials say Texas is losing $600 million annually on taxable items purchased online. And as they work to close a budget gap of up to $27 billion, they're chasing every penny.

Texas Budget Cuts Trickle Down to Local Governments

One lawmaker has proposed a constitutional amendment blocking lawmakers from passing so-called unfunded mandates on to local governments. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, with billions of dollars set to be slashed from the state budget in the coming months, cities, counties and other local governmental bodies worry the costs will come anyway.

Gov. Rick Perry's Symbolic Cuts and His Real Ones

If you’re going to make a bunch of people mad, you should make sure you’re getting something for it. The proposed budget cuts Gov. Rick Perry laid out in his State of the State speech — defunding the states arts and historical commissions, for example — are more symbolic than lucrative and trivialize the cuts that are being made elsewhere in state services and programs.

Word cloud aggregate of Rick Perry's State of the State speeches from 2001 to 2009.
Word cloud aggregate of Rick Perry's State of the State speeches from 2001 to 2009.

Perry to Push Texas Colleges to Offer $10,000 Degree

Gov. Rick Perry will deliver his sixth State of the State speech later this morning, challenging the state's colleges and universities to offer a $10,000 bachelor's degree, including books. The higher education proposal is part of a call for a streamlined and more efficient state budget; Perry will try to sell the state's fiscal troubles as an opportunity to reshape the government.

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011

Senators Grill Texas Education Agency Over Cuts

As the Texas Education Agency appeared before members of the upper chamber for the first time since the release of an initial budget that reduced school funding by $9.3 billion, senators called for a "full picture" of the state's spending in public education.