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. 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.

 

House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More Than Money

The House is working on the budget, the only bill lawmakers have to pass. And that's why there are 354 proposed amendments: If you can get your idea attached to the only bill that has to pass, your chances get much better. Use our livestream to watch the House budget debate happening now. 

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

Budget Debate Tackles School Funding, Incentive Programs

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early discussions addressed school funding and incentive programs. Use our livestream, courtesy of the Texas Legislature, to watch the debate.

Texas House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks over amendments to border security legislation on March 1, 2015.
Texas House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks over amendments to border security legislation on March 1, 2015.

Senate's Property Tax Cut May Stall in House

The Texas Senate's notion of lowering property taxes for homeowners may lose steam when it reaches the House, where leaders appear more inclined to lower state sales taxes and avoid a collision with the spending cap.

 

 

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.
State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

$209.8 Billion Budget Plan Headed to House Floor

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday backed a $209.8 billion two-year budget that would leave $8.4 billion on the table, along with billions more in the state’s savings account. The budget will be debated and voted on by the full 150-member House next Tuesday.

Analysis: A Sales Tax Cut, If Anybody Wants It

A little-noticed bill filed on deadline by the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee could hold the session's biggest tax cut, but only if the House and Senate decide to cut taxes on sales instead of property. The Senate has already signaled its preference for a property tax cut, but the debate is just getting started.

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Tax Cut Measures Headed to Full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to send proposals cutting property taxes and business taxes to the full Senate, though some senators questioned whether the property tax cuts could be better spent in other ways.