Tribpedia: Legislative Budget Board

Tribpedia

The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) is a permanant joint committee that establishes budgetary recommendations for the Legislature regarding state agencies and estimates the resulting costs in proposed legislation.

According to the Handbook of Texas Online, a publication of the Texas State Historical Association:

"The board appoints the budget director, who prepares the budgetary requests of all state spending agencies as ...

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Texas Budget Players in Race to Find New Revenue

The Big Men on Campus in the school known as the Texas Legislature have the unenviable job of finding money to alleviate the massive cuts outlined in House Bill 1, the general appropriations bill for the next biennium. Nearly 90 days into the session, lawmakers are playing a sometimes unorganized political game where the stakes are high and changes can happen quickly.

Some Cuts to Texas Budget Actually Cost Money

Cutting the budget can be expensive. Something that appears to save money can, on further inspection, cost more. Family planning, for instance. Shrinking the state’s family planning services would cost money because it would result in an increase in babies paid for by Medicaid. And to the extent that this is about money, and not about policy or politics or philosophy, it wasn’t a smart series of cuts. 

The Texas Budget Cycle

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Confused about the state's budget process? Trust us — you’re not alone. Check our a flow chart to understand where we are in the process (highlighted in yellow; current status highlighted in green) and what steps are next (highlighted in gray). If you click on the boxes, you'll see we’ve linked to the applicable web sites and documents so that you can take a look for yourself at the bills being considered.

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, votes 'aye' to table an amendment regarding HB4 the supplemental appropriations bill on March 31, 2011
Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, votes 'aye' to table an amendment regarding HB4 the supplemental appropriations bill on March 31, 2011

Politics, Not Just Numbers, in Budget Amendments

The House will launch Friday morning into a $164.5 billion budget proposal for 2012-13, which is about $23 billion, or 12.3 percent, smaller than the current budget. But numbers aren’t all that’s buried in the budget. Lawmakers have filed hundreds of amendments that are political in nature, from repealing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants to trying to push Planned Parenthood out of the family planning business. 

Graphic: The Texas Budget Cycle

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Confused about the state's budget? Trust us — you’re not alone. This session, lawmakers will set a budget that will be implemented in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 (Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012). And later this week, House members will vote on their version of a general appropriations bill. Use our flow chart to help understand where we are in the process and what steps are next.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

Texas Senate, Facing Tight Budget, Hunts for Revenue

The Texas Senate isn’t allowed to raise money. It’s right there in the state’s Constitution, which says all revenue bills must originate in the House. But there it goes, looking for “non-tax revenues” that could be used to put enough meat on the skimpy proposed budget to get senators to vote for it.

Youth Advocates Worry Cuts Will Put More in Prison

The proposed state budgets would cut $95.6 million from the Texas Youth Commission budget in 2012-2013 and lawmakers are eying reductions in parole services, which could lead to fewer staffers and parole offices. Some youth advocates worry the cuts will mean more youths spending more time behind bars and more of them committing crimes as adults.

Texas Battle Over Rainy Day Fund Heating Up

Texas, like many other states, is proposing billions of dollars in cuts to help close a budget gap. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, one thing Texas has that nobody else does is $9 billion in a piggy bank called the Rainy Day Fund — and lawmakers are divided over whether to crack it open.

Texas Comptroller Hunts Amazon for Tax Money

Comptroller Susan Combs says Amazon owes $269 million in sales taxes. The company says it will close its warehouse and fire its Texas employees if the state doesn't back down. The two sides are in the early stages of a legal fight over the money and the bigger question about who's required to collect taxes in Texas. State officials say Texas is losing $600 million annually on taxable items purchased online. And as they work to close a budget gap of up to $27 billion, they're chasing every penny.

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011

Senators Grill Texas Education Agency Over Cuts

As the Texas Education Agency appeared before members of the upper chamber for the first time since the release of an initial budget that reduced school funding by $9.3 billion, senators called for a "full picture" of the state's spending in public education.

Texas Budget Cuts Would Shrink Mental Health Help

For community mental health and retardation centers like Round Rock's Bluebonnet Trails, cuts in the state budget will have a direct effect on the number of people they serve — and help keep in school or employed and out of state hospitals and emergency rooms. For KUT News and The Texas Tribune, Ben Philpott reports.

LBB's Budget-Balancing Proposals

The Legislative Budget Board has begun distributing (to legislators — not to the public) its recommendations for how to save money and raise money to help balance the 2012-13 state budget. They plan to distribute copies of the budget itself (again, to lawmakers only) later tonight, and all of the documents will be available online to the public tomorrow morning. The details are still coming in, but here are some of the headlines from the LBB's Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Recommendations.

Details of Budget Proposals Begin to Seep Out

The Legislature's starting budget will apparently include proposals to cancel popular back-to-school sales tax holidays, cut discounts for retailers who remit sales taxes early, allow sales of liquor on Sundays to increase revenue from taxes on alcohol, cut the state's subsidy of dependent insurance premiums for state employees and lower the tax breaks for energy companies that take on certain high-cost gas drilling projects, sources say.

Comptroller Susan Combs giving a biennial revenue estimate in Austin on Jan. 10, 2011.
Comptroller Susan Combs giving a biennial revenue estimate in Austin on Jan. 10, 2011.

Comptroller Estimates Available Revenue

The state will have $77.3 billion in general revenue during the next two-year budget cycle, Comptroller Susan Combs said this morning. The comptroller estimated the Rainy Day Fund will have $9.4 billion in it at the end of the 2012-2013 biennium and that the size of the current deficit is $4.3 billion.

Some Eying Sales Tax Increase to Plug Budget Hole

It's not hard to find strange bedfellows in the Texas Legislature when the bills start flying. Republicans and Democrats frequently cross the aisle to support legislation that they feel will help their constituents. As Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the same could be true as lawmakers try to figure out how to balance the state budget during the upcoming legislative session.