Tribpedia: Rainy Day Fund

Tribpedia

The Rainy Day Fund is a savings fund that allows states to set aside excess revenue for use in times of unexpected revenue shortfall. It can plug holes in the budget, defend against an economic perfect storm and keep the deficit clouds at bay.

Using the fund itself isn’t particularly easy. If the comptroller says that revenue will decrease ...

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Todd Staples: The TT Interview

The state agriculture commissioner on the state's water crisis, why the Rainy Day Fund should be used to pay for a state water plan and how the money should be spent. He says conservation is the least expensive way to achieve water sustainability for the long term, but that it alone won't solve Texas' water problems.

TribYear: Top Texas News of 2011

In the spirit of TribWeek and TribMonth, we present TribYear: 10 of our best stories of 2011 — from the budget-whacking legislative session to emergency room mistakes, education accountability and a Williamson County man exonerated after spending nearly 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for his wife's murder.

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

Re-reading Perry's State of the State Speeches

One 2012 presidential candidate wanted to sell a government-run lottery to finance a health insurance program. He wanted to deregulate college tuition, and then freeze it. He proposed leaving the state's Rainy Day Fund alone — or, sending all of that money back to taxpayers. Hint: He's from Texas. Another hint: He's not Ron Paul.

Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Iowa State Fair during a campaign stop on Aug. 14, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Iowa State Fair during a campaign stop on Aug. 14, 2011.

Perry and the Stimulus: It's Complicated

In his book and on the campaign trail, Rick Perry rails against the Obama administration's "failed" 2009 federal stimulus program. But the governor and state lawmakers took more than $17 billion in fed-stim funding, including $8 billion of the one-time dollars to cover recurring state expenses. In fact, Texas used the stimulus to balance the current biennium's budget — and the one before that.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of June 20, 2011

An Everybody-in-the-Pool effort on what's left to do in the special session, Ramshaw on a doozy of a congressional race shaping up, Aguilar on the debate over sanctuary cities and other immigration proposals, M. Smith on the state's used-up Rainy Day Fund, Grissom on efforts to kick the special interests out of an insurance fight, Dehn and Tan on whether the special session helps or hurts the governor's national ambitions, Galbraith and KUT Radio team up for a series on the long-term outlook for Central Texas water, Aaronson on government attempts to balance openness and privacy with data releases, yours truly on Amazon's run at a sales tax break, and Hamilton on an ethnic gap in higher education: The best of our best from June 20 to 24, 2011.

State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, with a copy of the Texas House Practice rule book as he listens to debate on SB1811, the fiscal matters bill, on May 29, 2011.
State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, with a copy of the Texas House Practice rule book as he listens to debate on SB1811, the fiscal matters bill, on May 29, 2011.

Liveblog: Make-or-Break Day for the Texas State Budget

With less than two days left in the legislative session, lawmakers set out to pay for the budget by passing one more piece of legislation. Without that legislation — SB 1811 — the budget doesn't balance and lawmakers will be forced to come back in a special session. It passed in the House, but was undone by a Senate filibuster.

The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.
The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.

20 Weeks in Texas in Which the Budget Held Sway

The 82nd Texas Legislature’s regular session ends as it started, with lawmakers arguing about a shrunken state budget and redistricting. With Republicans operating with a supermajority in the House and a commanding majority in the Senate, there was little doubt that the GOP would be able to impose its will. What was new was the power exerted by the Tea Party movement.

State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, pauses during Memorial Day services in the House chamber on Saturday that honored fallen Texas soldiers.
State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, pauses during Memorial Day services in the House chamber on Saturday that honored fallen Texas soldiers.

Liveblog: Texas Legislature Passes $15 Billion In Cuts

Texas lawmakers passed a two-year state budget on Saturday that cuts $15.2 billion from current spending — most of that in health and human services — but avoids increased taxes and leaves $6.5 billion untouched in the state's Rainy Day Fund. The vote in the House was 97-53 and 20-11 in the Senate. Click here to read our reports from both chambers as the debate unfolded. 

Michael Quinn Sullivan
Michael Quinn Sullivan

Conservative "Outsiders" Have Inside Track in Texas

His nickname around the Texas Capitol is "mucus." It’s a play on Michael Quinn Sullivan’s initials — MQS — but the moniker is fitting on at least two levels: It underscores how much of an irritant the conservative activist has become to politicians who dare buck his Tea Party orthodoxy. It also says something about Sullivan’s staying power in Republican-ruled Texas. They can’t get rid of him.

 

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts (l), R-Waxahachie, and Senate Finance Chaigman Steve Ogden (r), R-Bryan, talk to the press after the conference committee vote on HB1 on May 26, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts (l), R-Waxahachie, and Senate Finance Chaigman Steve Ogden (r), R-Bryan, talk to the press after the conference committee vote on HB1 on May 26, 2011.

In Texas, a Businesslike Budget, After a Fashion

When Texas lawmakers said they wanted to run government like a business, they left out the part about using Enron and Countrywide as their models.

No Clear Signals on Budget, UT/TT Poll Finds

Four months of hearing about the state's budget problems hasn't changed the minds of Texas voters. According to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, registered voters still want lawmakers to cut the budget, but they still oppose the major cuts in education and health and human services that cutting the budget requires.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking to the press about budget and education matters on May 17, 2011.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking to the press about budget and education matters on May 17, 2011.

Budget Leaders: It's Up to the Texas House

If the House doesn't pass legislation that adds $2.6 billion to state revenue with a mix of delayed payments, increased penalties, government efficiencies and the like, the state budget won't balance and a special session will probably be required, House and Senate leaders said today.

Guest Column: My Texas Legislature in a Box

Call it the Justin Timberlake Treatment: For several reasons — the governor's strengthened executive powers and his alliance with a network of political organizations, the Republicans' ability to demonize President Obama and the federal government, the power of the Tea Party movement and the sclerotic response of Texas Democrats — the Legislature finds itself boxed in as it searches for a way out of the budget divide.