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 ...

Analysis: A Distinctive Push for Business Tax Repeal

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.

As lawmakers debate what kinds of tax cuts they like best, and voters point at property taxes as their favorite, a national conservative group is starting a grassroots campaign to promote repeal of the state's business margins tax. 

Analysis: Making the Worst of a Good Situation

Texas legislators have an unfamiliar problem: They have more money available to spend than their self-imposed limits will allow. And it's enough to start debates even where there is broad agreement — over which taxes to cut, how many people it takes to secure the border and which items on the state's wish list should be first. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announces the filing of SB1 with a series of property and business tax cuts for Texans on Feb. 24, 2015.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announces the filing of SB1 with a series of property and business tax cuts for Texans on Feb. 24, 2015.

Patrick, Hancock Propose Spending Cap Changes

Senate leaders Tuesday rolled out more legislation that would change how the state sets its limit on spending for each budget biennium, and let lawmakers pass tax cuts that don't count towards the cap.

Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics" on March 8, 2015.
Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics" on March 8, 2015.

Inside Texas Politics: Mother, May I?

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics with host Jason Whitely, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy and Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey, talk turns to spending caps and constitutional amendments.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.

Analysis: Fear of Spending Even Extends to Tax Cuts

Lawmakers want to send voters a tax cut but fear spending the money the cut requires without asking voters for permission. Senate leaders are proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow them to ignore caps on spending growth when they are cutting taxes or paying debts.

Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, is congratulated by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in passing changes to Senate rules on Jan. 21, 2015.
Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, is congratulated by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in passing changes to Senate rules on Jan. 21, 2015.

Analysis: A Desire for Tax Cuts and a Call for Restraint

As state officials rush to announce tax cuts, a former mayor now in the Senate is pleading for a little restraint and a return to pay-as-you-go government. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, says the state has enough money to address deferred maintenance of roads and buildings and to balance the state pension fund, if his colleagues will move tax cuts to the back of the line.

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar releases the revenue estimate on Jan. 12, 2015 to reporters and state officials the day before the legislative session.
State Comptroller Glenn Hegar releases the revenue estimate on Jan. 12, 2015 to reporters and state officials the day before the legislative session.

Hegar Suggests Shift in Rainy Day Fund Strategy

Comptroller Glenn Hegar is urging lawmakers to consider allowing his office to invest a portion of the Rainy Day Fund more aggressively, arguing that a greater return is worth the greater risk with the savings account.

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.

Nelson Emphasizes Property Tax Relief in Senate Budget

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.