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 ...

Weekend Insider: Texas Budget, Aid for Migrant Students

In this edition of the Texas Tribune Weekend Insider.

Texas is not flush with cash, but the state may not be in as big of a budget crunch as once thought. Ross Ramsey explains how some some analysts expect things to be tight, but easier than what legislators dealt with during the 2011 session. Then we go to St. Edward's University in Austin, where a program aimed at helping migrant students attend college is celebrating 40 years of success. Reeve Hamilton talks about how the school has kept the College Assistance Migrant Program going despite fluctuating federal funds.

Find full versions of these stories this weekend at TexasTribune.org.

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.

Which Pocket?

Texas Weekly

A one-for-one swap of sales taxes for property taxes would raise the state sales tax to 17.85 percent from 6.25 percent, or enough to add almost $3,500 to the price of an average car.

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.

The Search for a Less Unpopular School Tax

As the state and its independent school districts head to court again in October to debate school financing, it's still possible that the issue of a statewide property tax could be revisited. But such a move would require repealing a constitutional prohibition. And there's also a policy debate about replacing the property tax with a higher sales tax.

Survey: Local Juvenile Programs Underfunded

Texas Weekly

Instead of continuing to spend millions on problem-plagued secure facilities operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, juvenile justice reform advocates say legislators should invest more in local probation departments.

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.

Property Tax Easy to Hate, Tough to Mess With

Several factors can cause frustration with the property tax. One is that the value of your property is determined by a formula that is mathematical and seems precise, but it's not science. Some officeholders have raised the idea of replacing the property tax with a larger sales tax. But that could create some new challenges.

Small Tobacco Companies Could Pay Additional Tax

The House Ways and Means Committee heard discussion today about how to make small tobacco companies pay their fair share of health costs related to cigarettes, since a bill with that aim is likely to come up in the next legislative session. Small tobacco companies argue an additional tax on their products would be unfair. 

The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) had been under construction near Waxahachie, Texas, until Congress defunded it.
The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) had been under construction near Waxahachie, Texas, until Congress defunded it.

Texas Scientists Regret Loss of Higgs Boson Quest

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As European scientists reveal groundbreaking discoveries about the Higgs boson particle, Texas scientists reflect with regret about a machine that got partly built near Dallas. They say it would've accomplished the mission a decade earlier.

Asherton, TX
Asherton, TX

North Dakota Property Tax Vote Echoes in Texas

North Dakotans on Tuesday rejected a controversial measure that would have made their state the first in the nation to abolish property taxes. As Andy Uhler of KUT News reports, while some conservatives in Texas have suggested similar measures, officials have warned the state to proceed with caution.

Interactive: Texas Budget Cuts Shrink State Government

With the state government tightening its belt, there are now 10,200 fewer state employees, according to an analysis of data collected by the state auditor’s office. This interactive shows how budget cuts have affected employment at state-funded entities from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 to the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

Gov. Rick Perry unveils his "Texas Budget Compact" in Houston on Monday, April 16. On stage with Perry, from left to right: state Reps. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.
Gov. Rick Perry unveils his "Texas Budget Compact" in Houston on Monday, April 16. On stage with Perry, from left to right: state Reps. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.

Something for Everyone

Texas Weekly

Democrats see the governor as wounded and unpopular, and the more he becomes an issue in the 2012 elections, the happier they are. He has become their favorite whipping post and fundraising foil.

Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston listens during an October 4th, 2011 business and commerce committee meeting.
Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston listens during an October 4th, 2011 business and commerce committee meeting.

Taking a Bite Out of Crime Victim Funds

Texas Weekly

Lawmakers used money from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund to balance their budget, and now the fund is short of money.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 128

Ben, Evan, Ross and Emily talk about races to watch in the fast-approaching primary, Gov. Rick Perry's budget compact announcement and the Planned Parenthood merger. And Evan hears from some special birthday guests.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/26/11

Aaronson interactively maps Texas Medicaid providers, Aguilar talks legalization with the head of the Drug Policy Alliance, Galbraith on farmers watering what they know won't grow, Grisson sits down with exoneree Michael Morton, Hamilton on the elusive $10,000 college degree, Murphy et al. update the 2012 election brackets, Ramsey on Bill Ratliff's frank budget analysis, Ramshaw on a hospital where the overweight need not apply, Root on Joe Straus' primary opponent and Tan rounds up reactions to the Supreme Court's health care hearings: The best of our best content from March 26-30, 2012.

Bill Ratliff in the Senate 2003
Bill Ratliff in the Senate 2003

Bill Ratliff, Free to Speak His Mind, Tackles Budget

Bill Ratliff, a former lieutenant governor and state senator, doesn't have to worry about how voters will react to what he says. And he's speaking out about the state's budget. He says state officials have dug a hole that will make the next budget even worse the current one. He also argues that more money should have been included for public education.

Texas Gets a D+ in Public Integrity Study

Texas scored a 68 out of 100, coming in at 27th place in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.

State Spends Big to Pay Workers for Unused Vacation

State agencies have paid fired or resigning state employees more than $500 million in unused vacation time over the last decade — and such payouts jump dramatically during big layoff years. Critics say the spending is ridiculous during tough budget times; state workers argue agencies are so understaffed that they can’t take time off.

Tax Breaks for Sporting Events Raise Questions

Hoping to pull in visitors from out of state who spend their money in Texas, the state comptroller has spent millions of tax dollars to help defray the costs of sporting events and conventions. But critics are raising questions about spending on events that originated in Texas and don’t appear to be leaving the state anytime soon.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/13/11

Aaronson interactively charts the legal wrangling between Texas and the feds, Aguilar on what Obama's budget means for the border, Galbraith on congressional ambivalence about a wind tax credit, Grissom on cuts to crime victims services, Hamilton on UT-Austin's plan to boost graduation rates, Ramsey on our woefully low voter turnout, Ramshaw on a new Super PAC targeting incumbents of both parties, Root on conservative opposition to the Keystone pipeline and M. Smith on cash-starved school districts in the advertising game: The best of our best content from February 13-17, 2012.