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 ...

Something for Everyone

Gov. Rick Perry unveils his "Texas Budget Compact" in Houston on Monday, April 16. On stage with Perry, from left to right: state Reps. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.
Gov. Rick Perry unveils his "Texas Budget Compact" in Houston on Monday, April 16. On stage with Perry, from left to right: state Reps. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.
Texas Weekly

Democrats see the governor as wounded and unpopular, and the more he becomes an issue in the 2012 elections, the happier they are. He has become their favorite whipping post and fundraising foil.

Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston listens during an October 4th, 2011 business and commerce committee meeting.
Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston listens during an October 4th, 2011 business and commerce committee meeting.

Taking a Bite Out of Crime Victim Funds

Texas Weekly

Lawmakers used money from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund to balance their budget, and now the fund is short of money.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 128

Ben, Evan, Ross and Emily talk about races to watch in the fast-approaching primary, Gov. Rick Perry's budget compact announcement and the Planned Parenthood merger. And Evan hears from some special birthday guests.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/26/11

Aaronson interactively maps Texas Medicaid providers, Aguilar talks legalization with the head of the Drug Policy Alliance, Galbraith on farmers watering what they know won't grow, Grisson sits down with exoneree Michael Morton, Hamilton on the elusive $10,000 college degree, Murphy et al. update the 2012 election brackets, Ramsey on Bill Ratliff's frank budget analysis, Ramshaw on a hospital where the overweight need not apply, Root on Joe Straus' primary opponent and Tan rounds up reactions to the Supreme Court's health care hearings: The best of our best content from March 26-30, 2012.

Bill Ratliff in the Senate 2003
Bill Ratliff in the Senate 2003

Bill Ratliff, Free to Speak His Mind, Tackles Budget

Bill Ratliff, a former lieutenant governor and state senator, doesn't have to worry about how voters will react to what he says. And he's speaking out about the state's budget. He says state officials have dug a hole that will make the next budget even worse the current one. He also argues that more money should have been included for public education.

Texas Gets a D+ in Public Integrity Study

Texas scored a 68 out of 100, coming in at 27th place in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.

State Spends Big to Pay Workers for Unused Vacation

State agencies have paid fired or resigning state employees more than $500 million in unused vacation time over the last decade — and such payouts jump dramatically during big layoff years. Critics say the spending is ridiculous during tough budget times; state workers argue agencies are so understaffed that they can’t take time off.

Tax Breaks for Sporting Events Raise Questions

Hoping to pull in visitors from out of state who spend their money in Texas, the state comptroller has spent millions of tax dollars to help defray the costs of sporting events and conventions. But critics are raising questions about spending on events that originated in Texas and don’t appear to be leaving the state anytime soon.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/13/11

Aaronson interactively charts the legal wrangling between Texas and the feds, Aguilar on what Obama's budget means for the border, Galbraith on congressional ambivalence about a wind tax credit, Grissom on cuts to crime victims services, Hamilton on UT-Austin's plan to boost graduation rates, Ramsey on our woefully low voter turnout, Ramshaw on a new Super PAC targeting incumbents of both parties, Root on conservative opposition to the Keystone pipeline and M. Smith on cash-starved school districts in the advertising game: The best of our best content from February 13-17, 2012.

House Redistricting Committee Chairman Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, monitors debate on SB4 the congressional redistricting on June 14, 2011.
House Redistricting Committee Chairman Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, monitors debate on SB4 the congressional redistricting on June 14, 2011.

Voters Asked for Cuts — Do They Like the Results?

The Legislature gave voters what they said they wanted last year: big budget cuts in lieu of tax increases. That meant slashes in education, health care and other services. Now it's election time again, and the question is: Are they pleased with the budget cuts they got?

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs at a TribLive event at the Austin Club on Oct. 20, 2011.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs at a TribLive event at the Austin Club on Oct. 20, 2011.

Combs: State Revenues Higher Than Expected

Texas is in better shape financially than state leaders previously thought, the state comptroller said Monday. She released a new projection showing $1.6 billion more than lawmakers expected. Increased revenue from sales taxes and car taxes, along with the estate tax, are behind the good news, she said.

Downtown Dallas
Downtown Dallas

Ozone Pollution Spiked in Texas This Year

Levels of lung-damaging ozone have fallen significantly over the past decade, but all across Texas they spiked this year. Scientists are still trying to understand why — the heat, wildfires and drought are leading possibilities — and questions are also rising about the effects of oil and gas drilling.

Texas Supreme Court justices listen to the State of the Judiciary speech on February 23, 2011.
Texas Supreme Court justices listen to the State of the Judiciary speech on February 23, 2011.

Court Hears Challenge to State Business Tax

A successful challenge to the state's primary business tax would throw lawmakers into special session to try to find enough money to pay for public schools, a lawyer for the state told the Texas Supreme Court today.

Day 5: Budget Cuts Final Straw for Air Ambulance

Throughout August, The Texas Tribune will feature 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature — including the dramatically reduced budget — take effect. DAY 5: The Rio Grande Valley’s longest-running helicopter ambulance will be permanently grounded this fall, and state budget cuts were the final straw.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 7/25/11

Aaronson examines the Texas jobs "miracle," Root on how Rick Perry built his financial portfolio, Tan and Wiseman on Perry vs. Ron Paul, Philpott on how budget cuts will affect a mental health provider, yours truly on a House freshman who was less than impressed with his first legislative experience, M. Smith on public schools charging for things that used to be free, Hamilton on a new call to reinvent higher education, Grissom on a rare stay of execution, Galbraith on the end of a Panhandle wind program, Aguilar on the increase of legal immigration into the U.S. and Texas: The best of our best content from July 25 to 29, 2011.

House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.
House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.

Sine Die Report: What Survived, What Died

The Trib's been keeping track of the key issues throughout the special session. From budget measures to school finance, health care and airport groping, here's our final rundown of bills that passed, and the ones that died.