Tribpedia: Rainy Day Fund

The Rainy Day Fund is a savings fund that allows states to set aside excess revenue for use in times of unexpected revenue shortfall. It can plug holes in the budget, defend against an economic perfect storm and keep the deficit clouds at bay.

Using the fund itself isn’t particularly easy. If the comptroller says that revenue will decrease between ...

TribYear: (Some of) Our Best Stories of 2011

In the spirit of TribWeek and TribMonth, we present TribYear: 10 of our best stories of 2011 — from the budget-whacking legislative session to emergency room mistakes, education accountability and a Williamson County man exonerated after spending nearly 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for his wife's murder.

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

What Perry's State of the State Speeches Say About Him

One 2012 presidential candidate wanted to sell a government-run lottery to finance a health insurance program. He wanted to deregulate college tuition, and then freeze it. He proposed leaving the state's Rainy Day Fund alone — or, sending the money back to taxpayers. Hint: He's from Texas. Another hint: He's not Ron Paul.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

An Everybody-in-the-Pool effort on what's left to do in the special session, Ramshaw on a doozy of a congressional race shaping up, Aguilar on the debate over sanctuary cities and other immigration proposals, M. Smith on the state's used-up Rainy Day Fund, Grissom on efforts to kick the special interests out of an insurance fight, Dehn and Tan on whether the special session helps or hurts the governor's national ambitions, Galbraith and KUT Radio team up for a series on the long-term outlook for Central Texas water, Aaronson on government attempts to balance openness and privacy with data releases, yours truly on Amazon's run at a sales tax break, and Hamilton on an ethnic gap in higher education: The best of our best from June 20 to 24, 2011.

State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, with a copy of the Texas House Practice rule book as he listens to debate on SB1811, the fiscal matters bill, on May 29, 2011.
State Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, with a copy of the Texas House Practice rule book as he listens to debate on SB1811, the fiscal matters bill, on May 29, 2011.

Liveblog: A Make-or-Break Day for the Budget

With less than two days left in the legislative session, lawmakers set out to pay for the budget by passing  SB 1811. Without it, the budget doesn't balance and lawmakers will be forced to come back in a special session. It passed in the House, but was undone by a Senate filibuster.

State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, pauses during Memorial Day services in the House chamber on Saturday that honored fallen Texas soldiers.
State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, pauses during Memorial Day services in the House chamber on Saturday that honored fallen Texas soldiers.

Liveblog: Lege Passes Budget Cuts of $15 Billion

Texas lawmakers passed a two-year state budget on Saturday that cuts $15.2 billion from current spending — most of that in health and human services — but avoids increased taxes and leaves $6.5 billion untouched in the state's Rainy Day Fund.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts (l), R-Waxahachie, and Senate Finance Chaigman Steve Ogden (r), R-Bryan, talk to the press after the conference committee vote on HB1 on May 26, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts (l), R-Waxahachie, and Senate Finance Chaigman Steve Ogden (r), R-Bryan, talk to the press after the conference committee vote on HB1 on May 26, 2011.

A Businesslike Budget, After a Fashion

When Texas lawmakers said they wanted to run government like a business, they left out the part about using Enron and Countrywide as their models.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking to the press about budget and education matters on May 17, 2011.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking to the press about budget and education matters on May 17, 2011.

Budget Leaders: It's Up to the House

If the House doesn't pass legislation that adds $2.6 billion to state revenue with a mix of delayed payments, increased penalties, government efficiencies and the like, the state budget won't balance and a special session will probably be required, House and Senate leaders said today.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst listens to members after the Texas Senate voted, 19-12, to pass the budget on May 4, 2011.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst listens to members after the Texas Senate voted, 19-12, to pass the budget on May 4, 2011.

Is David Dewhurst Goofy — or Goofy Like a Fox?

It’s funny that you can win four statewide elections and still have people think you’re a goofball, in over your head. But maybe Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s fumbles leading to the Texas Senate’s budget vote give the lie to that. Maybe he’s goofy like a fox.

Gov. Rick Perry (c) speaks with reporters outside the Senate Chamber on May 5, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry (c) speaks with reporters outside the Senate Chamber on May 5, 2011.

Perry on Senate Budget, Sanctuary Cities and Rainy Days

The governor told a press gaggle today that the Senate budget vote is a "step in right direction" — and that big-city police chiefs who oppose sanctuary city legislation must not have been listening last Election Day.