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 ...

Nelson Emphasizes Property Tax Relief in Senate Budget

State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.
State Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick discussed the Senate's base budget plan at a Jan. 27, 2015, news conference.

Nearly two weeks after the House's base budget was released, Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson presented the Senate's plan, which she said sets aside $3 billion for "meaningful" property tax relief for Texas homeowners.

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.

Extra Cash Should Go to Paying Debt, Otto Says

State Rep. John Otto wants a constitutional amendment requiring that excess cash in the state's Rainy Day Fund be used to pay off state debt early.

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on Dec. 11, 2015.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on Dec. 11, 2015.

Inside Texas Politics: Budget, Quakes and Local Control

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, host Jason Whitely, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy and Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey focus on the 84th Texas Legislature, which starts Tuesday.

Analysis: The Tax That Consumers Are Ignoring

When an out-of-state retailer doesn't add Texas sales and use taxes to your bill, it's not because no taxes are owed — and it's not because the retailer is doing something illegal. Many people don't know this, but it is the consumer who owes the tax, and the state taxes left unpaid amount to almost $1.8 billion annually.

U.S. Sen Ted Cruz decries Washington efforts to regulate the Internet as a utility in a speech to Capital Factory on Nov. 14, 2014.
U.S. Sen Ted Cruz decries Washington efforts to regulate the Internet as a utility in a speech to Capital Factory on Nov. 14, 2014.

Analysis: Cruz, Business Joust Over Online Taxes

Congress has proposed a national standard for sales taxes on the internet, an idea backed by trade groups for so-called brick-and-mortar retailers. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a loud opponent of the legislation, even though sales taxes are the single largest source of revenue for the state government.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (right) and House Speaker Joe Straus listened to testimony on the cost of the continuing border surge during the Legislative Budget Board hearing's on Dec.1, 2014.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (right) and House Speaker Joe Straus listened to testimony on the cost of the continuing border surge during the Legislative Budget Board hearing's on Dec.1, 2014.

Tighter Spending Cap May Keep Billions Out of Budget

Depending on your political leanings, the spending cap state lawmakers set this week was either too low, too high or just right. Regardless, the arcane measure could effectively block lawmakers from accessing billions of dollars in state revenue.

Comptroller Susan Combs’ office recently researched the accuracy of tax revenue estimates going back 40 years.
Comptroller Susan Combs’ office recently researched the accuracy of tax revenue estimates going back 40 years.

Comptroller Study Shows Difficulty of Predicting Future

The comptroller's office recently researched the accuracy of its two-year revenue estimates going back 40 years and five comptrollers. Comptroller Susan Combs' 2011 forecast, which underestimated state revenue by billions of dollars, has become an issue in this year's race to replace her.

Analysis: For Budget Cutters, It's Not About Revenue

All of the experts say the state has plenty of tax revenue coming in, thanks to the oil and gas industry and a thriving economy. Even so, lawmakers are asking state agencies to propose budget cuts before next year's legislative session. It's a normal exercise started in years when the state's revenues were in much worse shape.

Surplus Projections Ignite a Familiar Debate

With expectations that state lawmakers will have a budget surplus of several billion dollars, lawmakers, activists and business groups are already discussing what to do with the money. While some are arguing for tax relief, others say the state has unmet needs in transportation and education that need to be addressed.

Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.
Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.

Sales Tax Plan Would Redefine School District Wealth

Replacing property taxes in Texas with sales taxes sounds simple, but would have huge consequences for the state's school districts and for other governments whose local control goes along with their property taxes. In politics, nothing is as simple as it sounds.