Lawmakers are back under the dome of the Texas Capitol for a new session for a new age in politics, with the reminder of what happened two years ago in the back of their minds.
Two years ago, education funding was slashed by $5.4 billion, the use of the state’s emergency "rainy day" fund was frowned upon, and a controversial Voter ID bill got through both chambers but was found unconstitutional against minority voters by the court system.
According to State Comptroller Susan Combs, Texas lawmakers will have will have $101.4 billion to work with during the next legislative session. Combs said the estimated $96 billion in revenue from taxes, fees and other sources is up nearly $20 billion from previous years.
"General revenue collections in 2008 and 2009 -- leading into the [legislative] session -- totaled $79.6 billion," Combs said. "In 2010 - 2011, as we hit bottom and began to climb out the revenues were $4.5 billion less."
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:00 am
As the state legislature prepares to open its session Tuesday, lawmakers are hearing a word not spoken in the capitol for a long time. It’s ‘surplus.’ Unlike two years ago, when they faced a massive deficit and cut $15 billion from the budget, there’s talk of an increase in money for state programs and a growing Rainy Day fund. The state comptroller will release the official budget estimate this morning, but the debate over whether and how to spend the Rainy Day money has already begun.
Texas Matters: It's finally here! The 83rd Texas Legislature will be sworn in and start on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Political Action Committees, or Super PACs as they came to be so heroically known in last year's election, enjoyed fairly easy regulations on both organization and donations. However, there are rules and stiff penalties if you break them; one Texas billionaire was caught and fined a shocking $6,450!
As the major metropolitan counties in Texas push the state legislature to rethink the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism, one program is already seeing results. This special four-part series from KUHF in Houston takes a look at the ups and downs of the Cleveland Correctional Center program.
One in every four inmates released from the Texas prison system is back in prison within three years. But an hour north of Houston, an experiment is unfolding that could slash the rate of recidivism. In the first of our four part series, KUHF business reporter Andrew Schneider looks at the Prison Entrepreneurship Program.
Premont ISD has struggled with low attendance, low test scores and poor finances for years, but when a letter from the TEA came threatening to close the school, everyone knew that something must be done.
A coalition of the state’s major metro counties has an agenda to convince legislators that a sea-change is needed in rehabilitating jail and prison inmates.
The Offender Re-entry Council has been working to lower costs of criminal justice, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety, but in the early- to mid-90s, the talk around Texas was of jail overcrowding and building more prisons.
With federal spending cuts looming, cases working their way through the courts questioning state funding of education and gun control control at the front of public debate, Texas lawmakers have their work cut out for them this session.
The 83rd Texas Legislative Session Begins on January 8th December 20, 2012 There's no doubt about it. Federal dollars pay for a lot of things in Texas. This year's state budget included $33 billion in federal money. Overall federal spending in Texas totaled more than $220 billion in 2010.