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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Abbott: Spending Limit Includes Rainy Day Fund

Spending from the state's Rainy Day Fund does, in fact, count against a constitutional limit on growth in the state budget, Attorney General Greg Abbott advised on Thursday. Texas budget writers can’t dip into the state’s savings account unless they either get voter approval or vote to ignore a state constitutional limit on spending, Abbott wrote in an opinion letter.

If the Legislature is in Town, Bills Aren't Dead

The legislative session is in its last month and most bills will die. But setbacks for the big stuff — water, transportation and the like — are usually temporary. Lawmakers love to take things to the brink of legislative death and then revive them. Then they go home to their districts to recount their fantastic and ingenious rescues of vital bills. 

Liverpool, Texas Volunteer Fire Department
Liverpool, Texas Volunteer Fire Department

For Fire Departments, More to State Budget Than Numbers

The money collected by the state for volunteer firefighter departments isn’t a huge sum compared with the Texas budget as a whole. But it is part of a bigger conversation about the $5 billion collected by the state for dedicated purposes that is diverted or held back in order to free funds for other things and to keep the budget in balance.

The crowded House floor during debate on SB 1 April 4, 2013.
The crowded House floor during debate on SB 1 April 4, 2013.

Texas House OKs R&D Tax Credit

A $250 million franchise and sales tax exemption for business research and development won tentative approval from the House on Wednesday. A similar exemption expired in 2006. 

Statte Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, explains an education funding amendment to SB 1 while House sponsor Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, talks with state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, on April 4, 2013.
Statte Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, explains an education funding amendment to SB 1 while House sponsor Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, talks with state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, on April 4, 2013.

House Votes to Reduce Reliance on Budget Diversions

House members on Wednesday passed two bills that take aim at the practice of budget diversions, in which fees collected for specific purposes are used in another manner. The measures now go to the Senate.

State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, during a state budget debate on March 20, 2013.
State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, during a state budget debate on March 20, 2013.

Guest Column: Let Voters Decide on Rainy Day Spending

The best way to finance Texas' pressing water and transportation needs — and to supplement spending on public education — is to let voters decide whether to use the state's Rainy Day Fund. The Senate has approved a proposal that would accomplish that; now it's up to the House.

A worker waits to load a piece of pipe, or casing, that will be lowered into the well at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale.
A worker waits to load a piece of pipe, or casing, that will be lowered into the well at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Shale Boom Has Major Impact on Texas' Budget

Besides boosting the economies of remote towns, the shale boom has big implications for the Texas economy and budget. Already, taxes on oil and gas production have soared above the comptroller’s estimates. Analysts say sales and property taxes are also set for gains, if oil prices stay high.

House Debate Over Water Bill Could Spur Bigger Fight

A bill that would draw $2 billion for water projects from the Rainy Day Fund is set to hit the House floor Monday afternoon. The debate could turn to focus on what it means to be a fiscal conservative in the Tea Party era. As some conservative activists are urging supporters to express opposition to the bill, Gov. Rick Perry has voiced his support for the measure.

In his Jan. 29, 2103, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.
In his Jan. 29, 2103, State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Perry avoided hot-topic issues like abortion, immigration and gun control and focused instead on infrastructure, budget reform and education.

Rick Perry Willing to Call Special Session if Needed

Gov. Rick Perry is warning state legislators that it could be a long, hot summer in Austin if they don’t pass his top priorities: funding water and transportation projects and cutting business taxes.

A road in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas. The natural gas drilling boom is straining the region's rural roads. More than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.
A road in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas. The natural gas drilling boom is straining the region's rural roads. More than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.

Cash for Road Repair in Shale Areas Proves Elusive

Efforts by state lawmakers to find money to repair South and West Texas roads torn up amid a drilling boom appear to be stalling, according to some officials working on the matter. Officials say that vehicular accidents in these regions are on the rise and that natural gas production could be threatened if the issue isn't addressed.

State. Sen Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, negotiates with a group of senators, including John Whitmire, D-Houston, on a prison health care measure on April 2, 2013.
State. Sen Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, negotiates with a group of senators, including John Whitmire, D-Houston, on a prison health care measure on April 2, 2013.

Senate OKs Electric Rebates From Fund to Assist Poor

All but 10 percent of a nearly $1 billion state fund intended to assist the poor with utility payments would be rebated to electric customers under a measure that preliminarily passed the Texas Senate on Monday. Lawmakers have used the fund and others like it to help balance the state budget by making state coffers appear more flush.

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.

Straus Picks Lead Budget Negotiators

The House sent five members to negotiate a budget with the Senate Monday, with instructions to avoid anything that looks like it would expand the state's Medicaid program. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/15/13

Aaronson tracks the latest on Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on lawmakers’ openness to driving permits for non-citizens, Batheja on surprising support for higher state spending, Root and Galbraith on the state’s search for answers after the West explosion, M. Smith covers the debate over high school standards, Grissom finds a shadow payroll at the Capitol, Hamilton on the man with a plan at UT, Rocha spots a special deal for lawmakers accused of crimes, KUT’s Philpott on obstacles to road funding and Ramshaw on the privileges of legislative membership: The best of our best for the week of April 15-19, 2013.

Gov. Rick Perry announces a 5 percent cut in the Texas franchise tax for small business on April 15, 2013. In the background are Rep. Harvey Hildebran, R-Kerrville, Gary Farmer of the Austin Chamber and MIke Morrissey of the governor's staff.
Gov. Rick Perry announces a 5 percent cut in the Texas franchise tax for small business on April 15, 2013. In the background are Rep. Harvey Hildebran, R-Kerrville, Gary Farmer of the Austin Chamber and MIke Morrissey of the governor's staff.

Perry Surprises by Urging House to Bust Spending Cap

UPDATE: Gov. Rick Perry told House Republicans in a private meeting this week that he could support a budget that breaks the state's constitutional spending cap, according to several attendees. But many are still wary of doing so.