Tribpedia: Federal Stimulus Package

Contractors hired by Austin Energy weatherize a South Austin home with funding from the federal stimulus program.
Contractors hired by Austin Energy weatherize a South Austin home with funding from the federal stimulus program.

After Rocky Start, Texas' Weatherization Program Thrives

Despite the disdain of Texas' Republican leadership, the state's component of the Obama administration's Weatherization Assistance Program has been quite successful — surpassing its goal of weatherizing more than 38,000 homes.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aaronson interactively asks if stimulus funds created jobs in Texas, Aguilar on new voter registrar rules that could decrease voter turnout, Galbraith on a UT professor's debunking of climate change "myths," Grissom on an epic clash of El Paso political titans, Hamilton on the right's new higher ed guru, Murphy maps household data from the 2010 Census, Ramsey on a coming rules fight in the Texas Senate, Root and M. Smith on Rick Perry's performance at the New Hampshire debate and M. Smith talks public ed cuts with the state's Superintendent of the Year: The best of our best content from October 10-14, 2011.

Who's Watching the Stimulus?

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The House Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding has expired, and its outspoken leader failed to get re-elected. So, amid all the state's fiscal concerns, who is keeping an eye on the stimulus?

A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.
A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.

Texas Won't Secede — But It Won't Shut Up Either

Texas leaders aren't talking about secession, after an outbreak of conversation a couple of years ago. But the germ of the idea remains in the anti-federalist talking points that fueled Gov. Rick Perry’s re-election campaign last year and provided the outline for his book, Fed Up!

A Schoolyard Brawl

Tension between Texas and the federal government has been a major focus of Rick Perry's re-election campaign. But on Monday, two top Democratic leaders in the Texas House ganged up on Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott and, by proxy, the governor over the recent federal education funds fight. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

Every Doggett Has His Day

The U.S. House has passed a bill on Tuesday that is expected to send about $800 million to bolster the state’s education budget. But thanks to an amendment added by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, the funding comes with Texas-specific strings attached. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report.

Happy Birthday, Stimulus!

Later today — exactly one year to the day since President Obama signed the federal stimulus bill — the Austin Water Utility will break ground on a $32 million wastewater treatment project paid for with stimulus dollars. Matt Largey of KUT News reports on other ways in which the stimulus has impacted the Texas economy.
Security camera towers loom over the Rio Grande River.
Security camera towers loom over the Rio Grande River.

Department of Public Stimulus

The Department of Public Safety, which is struggling financially, is planning to use $16 million of the federal stimulus dollars that Gov. Rick Perry begrudgingly accepted to plug a hole in the border security budget. The decision follows a mandate by Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus that state agencies cut 5 percent out of their budgets to meet an anticipated shortfall.

Out of the Race

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Texas will not apply for Race for the Top, the one-time federal grant worth up to $700 million for the state. Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott cited strings attached to the potential money: “It was chock full of burdens. Their overall policy was to control curriculum across the country."

Cloudy with a Chance of Money

The Rainy Day Fund seems like weather word play waiting to happen. It can plug holes in the budget, defend against an economic perfect storm and keep the deficit clouds at bay. That’s certainly how some see it when looking at the next biennium's projected shortfalls.

Stymied by Stimulus?

The stimulus money increased funding for education last session. But can the state keep it up next session without more federal money?

Is Texas in the Race?

The federal government is giving away $4.35 billion to state education systems through Race to the Top. But is Texas already out? 

Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the uninsured. Report: The Crunch Continues: Medicaid spending, coverage and policy in the midst of a recession. Results from a 50-state Medicaid budget survey for state fiscal years 2009 and 2010.
Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the uninsured. Report: The Crunch Continues: Medicaid spending, coverage and policy in the midst of a recession. Results from a 50-state Medicaid budget survey for state fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

States struggling to fund Medicaid

States are struggling mightily to fund Medicaid services in one the deepest recessions in recent history, according to a 50-state health care study released by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. States, many of them strapped by budget shortfalls, overwhelmingly reported being saved by the federal stimulus package, and said without it, they would have been forced to make serious cuts in Medicaid eligibility.