is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
In the midst of all the week’s gloomy state budget news, this stuck out like a gold nugget in a cow patty: Rising property values in the state’s school districts translate into higher local tax revenue, cutting the state's obligation to education.
The state of Texas lost a lawsuit over business franchise taxes on Friday, but lost the way officials had hoped — without a significant change in an arcane accounting definition that could have cost billions.
The judges overseeing litigation on Texas redistricting haven't done anything public for two years. The lawyers who sued the state over its political maps are trying to get the judges to chirp or get off the perch.
Some Texas lawmakers were in a hurry to require transgender Texans to use the restrooms that match the genders listed on their birth certificates. But the policy and politics are complicated enough to prompt the governor to tap the brakes.
Had the state kept its share of school funding constant for the past 10 years, voters might not be griping about rising property taxes. The state is spending more than it used to, but it's spending less per student.
It's hard to get property tax relief out of a state government that does not levy a property tax. But it's tempting turf for politicians in Texas, and they're going to try again when they meet in January.
If they were only listening to voters, Texas Republican lawmakers could cast stress-free votes on a proposed bathroom bill. That's also true if they were only listening to businesses. But voters and businesses don't want the same thing.