Karen Brooks Harper
reports on the state budget and health and human services. An alumna of the University of Missouri-Columbia Journalism School, Karen arrived in Texas in 1995 to join the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, spent several years in Laredo and Mexico covering immigration and the drug war for Knight-Ridder newspapers, and has covered Texas politics for more than two decades for news organizations including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News and Reuters. She is based in Austin.
The two chambers have 10 days to cut a deal before the end of the legislative session, and they are miles apart on some of the very foundations of a corporate tax-abatement bill considered to be a priority for Republican state leaders. Full Story
During the floor debate for a plan to replace the expired Chapter 313 program, House members added that the new version of the incentive must require companies to pay higher wages and create stiffer penalties for noncompliance. Full Story
The proposal for the 2024-25 budget cycle includes $142.1 billion in general revenue spending — about $5 billion higher than the proposal approved last week by the Texas House — at a time when lawmakers have a historic $32.7 billion surplus at their disposal this session. Full Story