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 ...

Dire Budget Estimate Fit Well With Prevailing Politics

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, citing a robust economy,  releases the Biennial Revenue Estimate showing that the state is projected to have over $100 billion available for spending in the next biennium.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, citing a robust economy, releases the Biennial Revenue Estimate showing that the state is projected to have over $100 billion available for spending in the next biennium.

The two-year-old revenue forecast used to justify cuts in the current state budget was wrong — and not by a little bit. But the Legislature elected in a conservative sweep in 2010 was in the mood to cut. That's why Comptroller Susan Combs isn't getting much heat for the goof.

Gov. Rick Perry speaks with a reporter on Feb. 21, 2012, a month after dropping his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks with a reporter on Feb. 21, 2012, a month after dropping his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

In Pitching Tax Relief, Perry Again Targets Washington

In a speech calling for tax cuts in the new legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday bashed the federal government for its "irresponsible" spending decisions and praised Texas' fiscal restraint.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on opening day of 83rd Legislative Session, Jan. 8, 2013
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on opening day of 83rd Legislative Session, Jan. 8, 2013

Dewhurst: Put Some Money Aside for School Lawsuits

The state should set aside some money for the pending school finance lawsuits, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Wednesday. In a wide-ranging interview with the Tribune, he also talked about the state budget, education, immigration, water, transportation, and his hopes and plans for the legislative session that began this week. 

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, citing a robust economy,  releases the Biennial Revenue Estimate showing that the state is projected to have over $100 billion available for spending in the next biennium.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, citing a robust economy, releases the Biennial Revenue Estimate showing that the state is projected to have over $100 billion available for spending in the next biennium.

Combs: Lawmakers Will Have $101.4 Billion for Budget

A day before the start of the 2013 legislative session, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs delivered much improved budget news compared with two years ago. Lawmakers will have $101.4 billion for their next two-year budget, along with $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.

School Finance Trial Will Make Mark On 83rd Legislature

Texas Weekly

A final decision in the school finance trial against the state involving more than two-thirds of its districts and charter schools likely won’t happen until after the lights go out in the 83rd Legislature. But that doesn’t mean what’s happening inside of the courtroom now won’t have an impact on policy under the pink dome.

Gains in Texas Budget a Source of Hot Debate

Does Texas need a constitutional cap on spending growth to protect it from the whims of future lawmakers or save it from the current ones? Gov. Rick Perry and other state leaders say the proposal would keep Texas on a fiscally conservative path. Some conservatives who also support it argue Texas lawmakers stray from that path all the time.

Tax Incentives Could Prove Divisive For GOP

Texas Weekly

Republican leaders like to say government should just get out of the way and let the private sector do work its unfettered magic. But during the session, they may have a hard time squaring their stated philosophy with their support for tax giveaways to private industry.

The Missing Link: Performance and Job Security

Mack Brown has been a successful football coach for the University of Texas at Austin, but he's facing some heat after three disappointing seasons. Imagine what it would be like if officials overseeing major state government programs were subject to the same level of interest and publicity.

Battle Over Budget Caps Looms in Texas

After the Legislature cut billions of dollars from the state budget in 2011, some hoped to see at least some of the funding restored in 2013. But with the next legislative session quickly approaching, others are pushing to limit that spending.

UT/TT Poll: Economy, Immigration Top Texas Issues

Economic issues top the list of most important problems facing the country, and immigration and border security top the list of state issues in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. The state's voters are permissive when it comes to same-sex unions, strict when it comes to voting rights, and have complicated views on immigration, education and state spending.

Something Borrowed, Something Sued

Texas Weekly

The decision that comes from the school finance trial that will begin on Oct. 22 will set the tone for the next round of reforms. But there’s a separate conversation happening outside the courtroom that could be equally instructive — and indicates funding for schools may face challenges not only at the state but the local level.

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.