The Big Conversation
The facts of the auditor's report released Thursday on the administration of Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund are, as the Tribune's Aman Batheja termed it, "damning."
How bad? Eleven companies receiving a total of $223.3 million "either did not have to submit a formal application or did not have to promise to create a specific number of direct jobs, or both," Batheja wrote. And the governor's office did not make it easy for outsiders to check up on the figures, either. A 2013 report by them, for instance, detailed only the number of jobs that were expected to be created and left out that only 73 percent of those had actually been created.
With Perry not around in January, it will be up to the Legislature to sort through the recommendations in the document. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst won't be around either, but he said Thursday that he was turning off the spigot on TEF grants immediately. House Speaker Joe Straus, meanwhile, pointed to his prior creation of a select committee to look at procedures on state incentives and expressed confidence the panel would come up with good recommendations to promote transparency with the fund.
Democrats were also quick to pounce, with state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, calling for a stop in the awarding of new grants. And Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis, who wrote the bill that led to the auditor's review, said the revelations in the report highlighted "why we need to root out the old insider network in Austin."
The TEF is by no means the only statewide incentive program to spur questions in recent weeks and months. The Major Events Trust Fund, which is administered by the state comptroller, is also under scrutiny over whether organizers of the Formula One event in Austin went through the proper procedure to receive money from the fund.
The Day Ahead
• GOP and Democratic gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis address the TASA/TASB Convention in Dallas.
• The House committees on International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs and Energy Resources will hold a joint hearing at 9 a.m. in Edinburg to gauge the impact of the expanded Mexican energy sector on Texas. (agenda)
Texas' Rising Graduation Rates Spark Renewed Doubts, by Morgan Smith
On the Border, Military Gear Inspires Mixed Reactions, by Julián Aguilar
Analysis: For Straus, Division Might Be Strength, by Ross Ramsey
Perry Touts National Energy Plan, Gas Exports, by Jim Malewitz and Neena Satija
College Partners With Company on New Honors Program, by Reeve Hamilton
Patrick says he'll be an advocate for poor, Houston Chronicle
Feds: Migrant families often vanish after release, San Antonio Express-News
Report: Texas political ad spending 2nd most in US, The Associated Press
Quote to Note
“This is somewhat of an infamous gun, and as a result of that, it has collector value. But it is going to take a different kind of a person (to buy it).”
— Crockett Keller, vice president of the Texas Gun Collectors Association, on the news that the rifle used by Charles Whitman in the 1966 UT Tower mass shooting is up for auction
Today in TribTalk
What will "Hispanic" mean in 2050?, by Wayne Thorburn
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Panel Discussion on Demographic Change and the Digital Divide, on Sept. 30 at LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin
• A Conversation With Kathie Glass, 2014 Libertarian Nominee for Governor, on Oct. 2 at The Austin Club
• A Panel Discussion on Changing Population, Changing Health Care, on Oct. 6 at Rice University's Baker Institute in Houston
• A Conversation With Sam Houston, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Attorney General, on Oct. 16 at The Austin Club