You wouldn’t be out of line wondering why Texas school finance didn’t get fixed in 2017. Or 2015. Or 2013. But it’s because this is a hard policy problem and a harder political one. The prompt now is that property taxes have gotten so far out of hand that lawmakers have no choice but to act.
A new report says the deferrals and other fiscal tricks lawmakers used this year — and are considering in the current special session — are digging a hole legislators will have to fill when they return to write a new budget in January 2019.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state's next two-year budget Monday, but vetoed tens of millions of dollars in funding for various programs, including measures meant to improve the region's air quality and assist impoverished border communities.
Did the Texas Legislature boost funding for border security? What about public education? Did they dip into the Rainy Day Fund? Here’s a wide-angle look at what's in the $217 billion budget the two chambers ultimately settled on.
Amid increased talk of a special session over other issues, both the Texas House and Senate voted Saturday evening to approve a $217 billion, two-year budget, the only bill lawmakers are required to pass.
Lawmakers cut a $3 million initiative to help victims of sex trafficking, ending child welfare advocates' hopes that 2017 would be the year they would finally see funds set aside to help children who had been sold for sex.
Lawmakers, scrounging for cash in a tight-fisted legislative session, agreed to dip into the state’s savings account and to make use of an accounting trick using funds set aside last session for highway projects.
Rumors of a special session are a normal feature in the last days of a regular session. There's no emergency that would force a special session, but don't discount the Texas Legislature's ability to force one by failing to finish its work.