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!