Aman Batheja worked for eight years at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, most of that time covering state and local politics. A native of Cedarhurst, New York, he has an undergraduate degree in journalism and psychology from New York University and a master's in economics from the University of Texas at Arlington.
In this episode of Budgetline, an occasional TribCast series on the Texas budget, Aman and Ross explore the place at the end of the budget where unfunded items go. While it's charitably referred to as "the wish list," budget watchers say it more often serves as "the cemetery," or "where dreams go to die."Full Story
This week, the House and the Senate named the members of a conference committee that will resolve the differences between the two chambers' budget plans. Here’s a look at how the two proposals compare, with details on some areas where the plans diverge.Full Story
Both Google and an industry group representing major auto manufacturers have come out against a bill from state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, to create a pilot program to monitor and encourage testing of self-driving cars in Texas.Full Story
State Rep. John Kuempel, chairman of the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, launched an official inquiry Monday into contracting practices at 11 state agencies.Full Story
State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who is leading opposition to a company's efforts to build a high-speed rail line, was once part of a group that supported private sector development of high-speed rail. An aide says she is not uniformly opposed to high-speed rail.Full Story
Three years ago, a company called Geo Care Inc. gave HHSC chief Kyle Janek a blueprint for privatizing state hospitals. The only contract awarded — privatizing Terrell State Hospital — ended up going to that same company.
The House Ways and Means Committee heard mostly praise for Chairman Dennis Bonnen's plan to cut the state's sales tax and the business margins tax. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the Senate remains committed to a property tax cut.Full Story
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Republicans had hoped to amend the Texas Constitution to tighten the state's spending cap. Short of the needed votes, they passed a measure creating a new cap in state law instead.Full Story
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, wants to make cities and counties ask voters for permission to enact tax rates that allow overall property tax revenue from existing homes and businesses to rise more than 6 percent.Full Story
On a 5-4 vote, the Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would hobble a private company’s plan to build a $12 billion high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston.Full Story
Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she expected the Senate version of the budget to be debated by the full Senate next week, “probably Tuesday.”Full Story
House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, laid out a $4.9 billion tax cut plan Wednesday featuring cuts in sales taxes and business taxes. The Senate's plan cuts business taxes and property taxes.
In this episode of Budgetline, an occasional TribCast series on the Texas Budget, Aman and Ross explore the state's fuzzy limits on how fast the state budget can grow, what counts and what doesn't, and how the politics work.Full Story
The Tribune asked more than 20 state agencies for basic information on their largest contracts with private vendors. Most knew, but the embattled health commission, which believes it has $60 billion or so in contracts, couldn't provide key details.Full Story