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 ...

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. 



The Last Seven Days: A Special Session Update

The Tribune counts down to the end of the special session with updates on where the major issues added to the agenda by Gov. Rick Perry stand. Three weeks in, some bills are headed to the governor's desk. Others have only cleared one chamber. A few are headed to conference committee, where lawmakers will negotiate the differences. And one major unresolved bill threatens to push the House and Senate into yet another special session. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 6/13/11

Aaronson and Murphy visualize what happened to the nearly 5,800 bills introduced in the 82nd Lege Session, Aaronson, Hasson and Swicegood interactively recap the budget battle, Aguliar on the surge in illegal re-entry cases prosecuted by the Obama administration, Galbraith on a coal plant that wants a water deal from the LCRA, Grissom interviews a man wrongly imprisoned and nearly executed — twice, Hamilton on a controversial UT regent who wants a do-over in the debate over higher ed reform, Ramshaw on the continuing fight over pre-abortion sonograms, Root on Rick Perry's newsmaking trip to NYC and M. Smith on whether cash-strapped school districts will raise taxes: The best of our best content from June 13 to 17, 2011.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, moves away from the podium after moving to briefly postpone discussion on SB1 the budget bill on June 9, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, moves away from the podium after moving to briefly postpone discussion on SB1 the budget bill on June 9, 2011.

Fiscal Conservatives Frustrated With House Votes

 Rep. Donna Howard's proposal to direct surplus Rainy Day Fund money to Texas schools for enrollment growth survived to fight another day during debate on the House floor this morning, but not before a Republican attempt to derail it.

State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, listens to testimony during a House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee hearing on April 5, 2011.
State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, listens to testimony during a House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee hearing on April 5, 2011.

After 16 Hours, Texas House Passes Fiscal Bill

Lengthy debate on a key budget bill featured many retreads of contentious topics from the regular session — but it was Rep. Wayne Christian's revival of his famous "pansexual" amendment around midnight that almost killed the whole thing.

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, during her filibuster at the end of the the 82nd legislature on Sunday, June 3, 2011. The action, in opposition to $4 billion in cuts to education, tipped lawmakers into an immediate special session.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, during her filibuster at the end of the the 82nd legislature on Sunday, June 3, 2011. The action, in opposition to $4 billion in cuts to education, tipped lawmakers into an immediate special session.

Filibuster Propels Wendy Davis Into Spotlight

Sen. Wendy Davis' controversial decision to torpedo the legislative session with a filibuster has catapulted the Fort Worth Democrat into the spotlight. She's seized it to try to mobilize outnumbered Democrats and to take jabs a Gov. Rick Perry’s rumored presidential aspirations.

Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan on June 3rd, 2011
Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan on June 3rd, 2011

This Time, Texas Budget Bills Sail Through Senate

After last ditch efforts from Democrats to increase funding for schools through closing tax loopholes and tapping the Rainy Day Fund failed, two budget bills quickly cleared the Texas Senate Friday night. And the Texas Supreme Court scored an important victory, as state Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, amended his general apropriations to include $17 million for civil legal aid for the poor and $7 million in indigent criminal defense.