For this week's nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about big-ticket infrastructure issues — whether lawmakers will approve any of them and where they might look for money.Full Story
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 ...
In the spirit of TribWeek and TribMonth, we present TribYear. Ten of our best stories of 2011.Full Story
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 the money back to taxpayers. Hint: He's from Texas. Another hint: He's not Ron Paul.Full Story
An amendment from Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, that would have directed surplus money from the Rainy Day Fund to pay for enrollment growth in public schools perished in conference committee, but came up again in debate before the final vote on a fiscal matters bill to which it was attached.Full Story
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.Full Story
Gov. Rick Perry’s neon-light promotion on the national stage of the $6 billion left in the Rainy Day Fund exposes a disconnect with the conservative lawmakers battling for his principles at home, where his party is working to divert negative public sentiment about the deep budget reductions.Full Story
Want a quick recap of some of the happenings this week in the Texas Legislature? We've made it easier for you with our weekly video rundown of the action under the dome.Full Story
The 82nd Texas Legislature’s regular session ends as it started, with lawmakers arguing about a shrunken state budget and redistricting.Full Story
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.Full Story
His nickname around the Texas Capitol is "mucus." It’s a play on Michael Quinn Sullivan’s initials — MQS — but the moniker 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 his staying power.
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.Full Story
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, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.Full Story
For the latest installment of our unscientific survey of political and policy insiders, we asked some questions about the political atmosphere in Texas, about the job performance of leaders and institutions and about whether immigration is good or bad for the country right now.Full Story
Gov. Rick Perry, speaking to reporters outside a ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel, said legislative leaders were moving toward a budget deal that would avoid a special session.Full Story
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.Full Story
Call it the Justin Timberlake Treatment: The Legislature has found itself boxed in as it searches for a way out of the budget divide.Full Story
House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on everything in the state budget except for public and higher education and a section of general provisions that can be used later to make sure the numbers in the budget balance.Full Story
The Texas Senate approved a $3.97 billion draw on the state's Rainy Day Fund to cover a deficit of the same size in the current budget, but not before rejecting efforts to add on a larger amount to help balance the 2012-13 budget.Full Story
The governor told a press gaggle today that the Senate budget vote is a "step in right direction" — and that big-city police chiefs who oppose sanctuary city legislation must not have been listening last Election Day.Full Story