Tribpedia: Budget

The Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to balance its budget every year without borrowing against future receipts. That bars the government from deficit spending and forces lawmakers, who meet for 20 weeks every two years, to constantly balance demands for programs and services against voters' desire to limit taxes, fees and other costs of government.

The Legislative Budget Board — a ...

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015.  Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015. Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.

House Approves $503 Million Boost to Current Budget

After an 18-hour marathon Tuesday night to sign off on a $210 billion two-year state budget, lawmakers were back in the Texas House on Wednesday afternoon for a bit of unfinished business: plugging holes in the current budget.

 

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, confers with State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, during a point of order called on House Bill 11 on March 18, 2015.

Efforts to Divert Border Security Funding Mostly Fall Flat

House Democrats tried – and mostly failed – to divert funds allotted for border security and the Texas Department of Public Safety to other departments during Tuesday’s budget debate. But the rancor over immigration enforcement that many expected didn’t materialize after lawmakers agreed to pull down amendments.

 

House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More Than Money

The House is working on the budget, the only bill lawmakers have to pass. And that's why there are 354 proposed amendments: If you can get your idea attached to the only bill that has to pass, your chances get much better. Use our livestream to watch the House budget debate happening now. 

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

Budget Debate Tackles School Funding, Incentive Programs

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early discussions addressed school funding and incentive programs. Use our livestream, courtesy of the Texas Legislature, to watch the debate.

Ways and Means chairman Re. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks over amendments to HB11 the border security bill debated on Mar. 1, 2015.
Ways and Means chairman Re. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, talks over amendments to HB11 the border security bill debated on Mar. 1, 2015.

Senate's Property Tax Cut May Stall in House

The Texas Senate's notion of lowering property taxes for homeowners may lose steam when it reaches the House, where leaders appear more inclined to lower state sales taxes and avoid a collision with the spending cap.

 

 

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.
State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

$209.8 Billion Budget Plan Headed to House Floor

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday backed a $209.8 billion two-year budget that would leave $8.4 billion on the table, along with billions more in the state’s savings account. The budget will be debated and voted on by the full 150-member House next Tuesday.

Analysis: A Sales Tax Cut, If Anybody Wants It

A little-noticed bill filed on deadline by the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee could hold the session's biggest tax cut, but only if the House and Senate decide to cut taxes on sales instead of property. The Senate has already signaled its preference for a property tax cut, but the debate is just getting started.

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Tax Cut Measures Headed to Full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to send proposals cutting property taxes and business taxes to the full Senate, though some senators questioned whether the property tax cuts could be better spent in other ways.

State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.
State Rep. John Otto (right) proposes a constitutional amendment to use Rainy Day Fund money to pay off state debt during a news conference on Jan. 15, 2015. At left is state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen.

House Budget Sets Up Transportation Funding Debate

Texas House budget writers put the final touches Thursday on a two-year budget that offers a different approach to boosting funding for transportation from the Senate.

Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.
Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing Texas' property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new fiscal challenges.

Analysis: A Distinctive Push for Business Tax Repeal

As lawmakers debate what kinds of tax cuts they like best, and voters point at property taxes as their favorite, a national conservative group is starting a grassroots campaign to promote repeal of the state's business margins tax. 

Analysis: Making the Worst of a Good Situation

Texas legislators have an unfamiliar problem: They have more money available to spend than their self-imposed limits will allow. And it's enough to start debates even where there is broad agreement — over which taxes to cut, how many people it takes to secure the border and which items on the state's wish list should be first. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announces the filing of SB1 with a series of property and business tax cuts for Texans on Feb. 24, 2015.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announces the filing of SB1 with a series of property and business tax cuts for Texans on Feb. 24, 2015.

Patrick, Hancock Propose Spending Cap Changes

Senate leaders Tuesday rolled out more legislation that would change how the state sets its limit on spending for each budget biennium, and let lawmakers pass tax cuts that don't count towards the cap.

Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics" on March 8, 2015.
Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics" on March 8, 2015.

Inside Texas Politics: Mother, May I?

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics with host Jason Whitely, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy and Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey, talk turns to spending caps and constitutional amendments.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a budget press conference on Jan. 27, 2015.

Analysis: Fear of Spending Even Extends to Tax Cuts

Lawmakers want to send voters a tax cut but fear spending the money the cut requires without asking voters for permission. Senate leaders are proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow them to ignore caps on spending growth when they are cutting taxes or paying debts.