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Abbott Strikes Accords With Mexico on Transportation, Energy

Also, George P. Bush wields the sword of zero-based budgeting and Glenn Hegar says he's within $200 million on his revenue estimate.

(left to right)  Assistant Secretary of State for Mexican and Border Affairs Avdiel Huerta, Undersecretary for North America…

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced a pair of efforts aimed at improving transportation along the state’s international border and harnessing opportunities from Mexico’s reformed energy sector.

Abbott, in Mexico for his first international trip as governor, signed an agreement that he says will “promote and increase bilateral collaboration on future border infrastructure projects.” He also touted a new energy task force to bolster markets on both sides of the border.

The transportation agreement links the Texas Department of Transportation to Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation, calling for more communication between the agencies, joint research on motor vehicle crossings and partnerships on future road projects.

The energy task force will examine how the two states can work together, now that Mexico has opened its energy sector — ending a 75-year-old policy of isolation.

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Trying to boost his fiscal conservatism bona fides, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is touting a new budgeting policy at the General Land Office as a weapon to “slay the beast of big government.”

The Republican on Wednesday announced that the General Land Office is ditching “baseline budgeting” for “zero-based budgeting,” which requires planners to start from zero when asking for funds, justifying each dollar they wish to earmark. 

"Zero-based budgeting is my weapon of choice to slay the beast of big government," Bush said. "Texas households have to count dollars and sometimes make do with less. It's only fair that government do the same."

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Missing a target by 200 million is not usually something to brag about.

But it's a pretty great outcome when you're trying to guess how much money the state of Texas collects in a year. Comptroller Glenn Hegar happily boasted Thursday that state revenue for the fiscal year ending on August 31 came in at $109.5 billion, 0.2 percent less than the $109.7 billion he had projected in his Biennial Revenue Estimate in January.

“As we predicted, the Texas economy has seen moderate growth despite weakness in the energy sector. The accuracy of our fiscal 2015 estimate provides a firm foundation as we begin to prepare the Certification Revenue Estimate,” Hegar said.

That C.R.E. is expected in December and will be closely watched in particular to see whether Hegar adjusts his predictions for the price of a barrel of oil. Some have argued that Hegar's January estimate in that regard was too optimistic.

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HUD Secretary Julián Castro dropped in on Austin on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the federal agency he oversees — and deflect a few questions about the presidential race he could join as a running mate if speculation turns out to be true.

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, repeatedly told reporters after a speech at the University of Texas at Austin that he would not weigh in on the 2016 election. He is rumored to be one of Hillary Clinton's choices for vice president if the former secretary of state wins the Democratic nomination.

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State Rep. Bryan Hughes, the Mineola Republican seeking a promotion to the upper chamber, is touting praise from one of the most prized supporters in Texas GOP politics: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Hughes drew attention to comments Cruz made during an event for his presidential campaign last week in Tyler. The remarks came minutes after Hughes endorsed Cruz for president on the same stage.

"Thank you for your incredible support, for your friendship, for your passion, for your willingness to stand and fight for conservative principles and to represent East Texas values," Cruz told Hughes.

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In other Cruz news, he named CJ Pearson, a conservative, teen YouTube host from Georgia, as national chairman of “Teens for Ted,” Cruz’s teen coalition.

Wyatt English of Iowa and Adam Hoffman of Texas will serve as the coalition’s co-chairs. The coalition serves to promote Cruz to the youth vote during the 2016 presidential election.

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