State Budget http://kut.org en Fighting Stigma of Mental Illness Goal of New Texas Nonprofit http://kut.org/post/fighting-stigma-mental-illness-goal-new-texas-nonprofit <p>Improving mental health practices for Texas and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness is the goal of a new statewide institute. Its focus will be on children, veterans and criminal justice policies.</p><p>The <a href="http://mfi.org/MFI2012_MentalHealthInstituteSurvey.pdf" target="_blank">Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute</a> opened its doors today. Tom Luce, its chief executive officer, says the nonprofit will do research to improve access to mental health care in Texas –&nbsp;and not just after emergencies like the recent Fort Hood shooting.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:13:32 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 10232 at http://kut.org Fighting Stigma of Mental Illness Goal of New Texas Nonprofit Opening Soon in Dove Springs: A $2.4 Million Mental Health Clinic http://kut.org/post/opening-soon-dove-springs-24-million-mental-health-clinic <p>Donna Spencer and Iliana Gilman work with <a href="http://www.integralcare.org" target="_blank">Austin Travis County Integral Care</a>,&nbsp;the agency that provides mental health services for low-income residents in the area. They recently walked through the site of Integral Care&rsquo;s soon-to-open $2.4 million facility, inside what used to be a Wal-Mart and a Sam&rsquo;s Club.</p><p>It&rsquo;s in the southeast Austin neighborhood of Dove Springs. This low-income, majority Latino neighborhood is getting its first mental health care facility.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s in large part because of a federal initiative, the Medicaid 1115 waiver program, that funds experimental clinics like this one. It will offer mental health care and substance abuse treatment, along with routine primary care.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114886513" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 11 Oct 2013 16:50:58 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 8915 at http://kut.org Opening Soon in Dove Springs: A $2.4 Million Mental Health Clinic Budget Breakdown: What Texas Lawmakers Approved http://kut.org/post/budget-breakdown-what-texas-lawmakers-approved <p></p><p>Amid all the other items on the agenda, the 83<sup>rd</sup> session of the Texas Legislature had as its primary task: passing a budget bill. Last Sunday, lawmakers praised the budget deal they'd&nbsp;pass before midnight. State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, is the House’s chief budget writer.</p><p>"By doing all the good things that are in this budget…we are still able to increase the state budget by a percentage of less than one percent per year with adjusted dollars," Rep. Pitts said.</p><p> Thu, 30 May 2013 13:09:41 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 7929 at http://kut.org Budget Breakdown: What Texas Lawmakers Approved 83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't http://kut.org/post/83rd-leges-regular-session-what-happened-what-didnt <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.35; box-sizing: border-box; ">It's been a whirlwind of an end to the 83rd Legislature's regular session, and with Monday's announcement of a special session, lawmakers aren't done.&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.35; box-sizing: border-box; ">Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short during the 140 days of the regular session</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-famil Tue, 28 May 2013 15:54:37 +0000 Texas Tribune Staff 7904 at http://kut.org 83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't Saturday Update: Legislature Honors Fallen Soldiers, Continues Last-Minute Work on Bills http://kut.org/post/saturday-update-legislature-honors-fallen-soldiers-continues-last-minute-work-bills <p>Members of the Texas House and Senate are at their desks this afternoon as the Legislature continues to work in the final days of the 83rd session.&nbsp;</p><p>State <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=28" target="_blank">Rep. John&nbsp;Zerwas</a>,&nbsp;R-Simonton, says they expect to bring up Senate Bill 1, <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/agenda-texas-behind-scenes-house-budget-debate" target="_blank">the budget bill</a>, on Sunday. He was one of the House members who worked with Senators in the conference committee on SB 1.</p> Sat, 25 May 2013 20:13:30 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 7878 at http://kut.org Saturday Update: Legislature Honors Fallen Soldiers, Continues Last-Minute Work on Bills Agenda Texas: Budget Agreement Gets Stuck http://kut.org/post/agenda-texas-budget-agreement-gets-stuck <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F93262347" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Hey you remember on Friday when we announced there was a budget agreement?</p><p>Yeah, about that....</p><p> Tue, 21 May 2013 22:30:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 7828 at http://kut.org Agenda Texas: Budget Agreement Gets Stuck Agenda Texas: Busted Budget Negotiations http://kut.org/post/agenda-texas-busted-budget-negotiations <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F92542961" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Today was supposed to be the day. In the morning, House and Senate budget negotiators announced there would be a meeting at 2 pm, which many interpreted as the meeting that would unveil the budget agreement.</p><p>Yeah, that didn't happen.</p><p>At 2:15, the meeting was delayed until 3. At about 3:30, the meeting was delayed until 5.</p> Thu, 16 May 2013 22:30:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 7770 at http://kut.org Agenda Texas: Busted Budget Negotiations Texas House, Senate to Iron Out Budget Differences http://kut.org/post/texas-house-senate-iron-out-budget-differences <p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Texas lawmakers in the House and Senate will soon begin working out differences between their budgets.&nbsp;</p><p>The longest and probably most heated debate over the budget happened last Thursday. That’s when the House passed its amended version of the state spending plan for the next two years.</p><p>Every session, House and Senate members disagree on how much to spend and which line item should get how much funding. <a href="http://www.statesman.com/staff/kate-alexander/" target="_blank">Kate Alexander</a> said this session will be no different.</p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 13:25:24 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 7259 at http://kut.org Texas House, Senate to Iron Out Budget Differences House Passes Budget, Votes Against School Vouchers (Update) http://kut.org/post/house-passes-budget-votes-against-school-vouchers-update <p><strong>Update: </strong>The debate over the budget in the Texas House lasted well into the night. But it was short and relatively drama-free when compared to sessions past. The budget bill passed 135 to 12.</p><p>The two-year budget boosts state spending. It includes small raises for state employees and spares state parks from being closed.</p><p>By the end, lawmakers had agreed on what would go into the $93.5 billion state spending plan – $2.5 billion will go back into the public school funding formula after nearly $5 billion was cut in 2011. Fri, 05 Apr 2013 11:05:34 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia & Laura Rice 7239 at http://kut.org House Passes Budget, Votes Against School Vouchers (Update) In Bipartisan Truce, House Members Pulling Amendments http://kut.org/post/bipartisan-truce-house-members-pulling-amendments <p></p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15.454545021057129px;">While the Texas House began working through 267 amendments on the proposed budget Thursday morning, Democratic and Republican House members confirmed that potentially divisive amendments related to funding for women’s health are being withdrawn as part of a bipartisan truce.</p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 18:38:55 +0000 Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune 7226 at http://kut.org In Bipartisan Truce, House Members Pulling Amendments UT App Measures Effect of Family Planning Cutbacks http://kut.org/post/ut-app-measures-effect-family-planning-cutbacks <p>The number of women served by a state family planning program in Travis County dropped 90 percent over two years, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.</p><p>That happened as funding dropped by about the same amount, which contributed to the closure of seven family planning clinics.</p><p>UT’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project released a <a href="http://www.prc.utexas.edu/txpep">web app</a> today that measures the impact of cuts to the Department of State Health Services' family planning programs.</p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 21:17:09 +0000 Nathan Bernier 7212 at http://kut.org UT App Measures Effect of Family Planning Cutbacks House Panel OKs Version of Budget http://kut.org/post/house-panel-oks-version-budget <p>A day after <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/senate-passes-budget-reverses-some-2011-cuts">the Texas Senate passed a state budget</a>, the House Appropriations Committee passed its version.</p><p>The bill would spend a little less overall than the Senate plan but would spend more on Texas public schools, an increase of $3 billion, after the cuts of close to $5.5 billion in the budget passed in 2011.</p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 22:46:31 +0000 Trey Shaar 7041 at http://kut.org House Panel OKs Version of Budget Lawmakers Working to Pay Medicaid Bill http://kut.org/post/lawmakers-working-pay-medicaid-bill <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Texas House Appropriations Committee voted out an emergency supplemental spending bill this morning. The bill would fund the state’s Medicaid services for the rest of the current budget.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Almost all of the $4.8 billion bill goes to pay for the state’s Medicaid services. Lawmakers purposely underfunded the program by 6 months in 2011 as part of $27 billion cut from the state budget due to a dramatic drop in state revenue.</span></p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 23:11:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 6550 at http://kut.org Lawmakers Working to Pay Medicaid Bill Education Budget-Building Begins http://kut.org/post/education-budget-building-begins <p>When the House and Senate filed base budgets last week, advocates for programs that were cut in 2011, including public education, were upset the budgets didn’t restore funding. Lawmakers countered that the budget was expected to grow.</p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:05:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 6322 at http://kut.org Education Budget-Building Begins Business Group Calls for Tax Cuts http://kut.org/post/business-group-calls-tax-cuts <p>When Texas lawmakers found out they’d have <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/perry-calls-tax-cuts-legislature-opens">more than $101 billion to spend this legislative session</a>, some immediately began calling for tax cuts. Now one prominent business lobbying group has laid out its idea for what those cuts could look like.</p><p>For Bill Hammond, it’s a simple formula: Keep taxes low and the Texas economic engine keeps on chugging. Hammond, president of the <a href="http://www.txbiz.org/">Texas Association of Business</a>, says making permanent the business tax exemption for companies that bring in less than $1 million in gross receipts would really fuel the economy, as would allowing those making more than that to exempt their first $1 million.</p><p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 11:24:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 6217 at http://kut.org Business Group Calls for Tax Cuts House 'Zeroes Out' Standardized Tests in Draft Budget http://kut.org/post/house-zeroes-out-standardized-tests-draft-budget <p>When the Texas House filed its base budget Tuesday, plenty of attention was paid to how much money the bill spent on things like health care programs and public schools. But there where a handful of programs that - so far - are getting no money at all.</p><p></p><p>It’s called being zeroed out. The line item is still there in the budget, but just followed with zeros. It’s a political move. Items that are zeroed out typically get some or even all funding back. But only after changes have been made to how the program functions.</p><p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 01:15:35 +0000 Ben Philpott & Nathan Bernier 6200 at http://kut.org House 'Zeroes Out' Standardized Tests in Draft Budget First Draft of Texas House's 2013 Budget: $89.1 Billion http://kut.org/post/first-draft-texas-houses-2013-budget-891-billion <div><p>The first draft of the Texas House budget comes in at $89.1 billion, and leaves $5.5 billion in unspent revenue.</p><p></p><p>"The filing of this budget will allow the House to formally begin a discussion about Texas’ priorities," said House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), in a statement. "This bill recognizes the demands of population growth on public schools and Medicaid, and steadfastly maintains the House's commitment to fiscal discipline."</p><p></p> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 21:45:33 +0000 Bobby Blanchard & KUT Staff 6176 at http://kut.org First Draft of Texas House's 2013 Budget: $89.1 Billion Perry Calls for Tax Cuts as Legislature Opens http://kut.org/post/perry-calls-tax-cuts-legislature-opens <p>Texas lawmakers may have $29 billion more to spend on the state budget this session than they did in 2011. Now, Gov. Rick Perry is floating the idea of tax cuts.</p><p>Perry says lawmakers will have more than $101 billion in revenue over the next two years because of the economic climate Republicans have created in Texas. Increased revenue, he says is a reason to push for keeping a tight budget and avoiding increases -- and, as he told lawmakers during the Legislature’s opening day Tuesday, to consider tax cuts.</p> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 11:05:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 6132 at http://kut.org Perry Calls for Tax Cuts as Legislature Opens Combs: Lawmakers Will Have $101.4 Billion for Budget http://kut.org/post/combs-lawmakers-will-have-1014-billion-budget <p></p><p></p><p>The Texas Legislature will have $101.4 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget, along with an extra $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, Comptroller&nbsp;<a href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/susan-combs/">Susan Combs</a> announced Monday morning. (Listen to her full announcement <a href="https://soundcloud.com/kutnews/comptroller-susan-combs">here</a>.)</p><p>Combs’ official biennial revenue estimate sets the limit of the state’s general fund, the portion of the budget that lawmakers have the most control over. The general fund typically makes up nearly half of the state’s total budget.</p><p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 00:40:20 +0000 Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune 6082 at http://kut.org Combs: Lawmakers Will Have $101.4 Billion for Budget Texas Legislators Start Wrangling on State Budget (Update) http://kut.org/post/texas-legislators-start-wrangling-state-budget-update <p><strong>Update:</strong> The Legislative Budget Board approved a 10.7 percent spending increase for the 2014-2015 budget. That means&nbsp;–&nbsp;for now&nbsp;–&nbsp;that lawmakers can spend up to $77.9 billion in the two year budget.</p><p>That amount will go up in a few months, &nbsp;as lawmakers add billions to the current budget to pay for an underfunded Medicaid system.</p><p>Republican lawmakers pledged today to spend less than the cap allows&nbsp;–&nbsp;no matter the number.</p><p><strong>Original Post</strong>&nbsp;(10:14 a.m.):&nbsp;The Texas Legislative Budget Board is <a href="http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/LBB_Meetings/Agenda%20for%20November%2015,%202012%20LBB%20Meeting_1.pdf">meeting this morning</a> to set the state’s spending cap for fiscal years 2014-2015.</p><p> Thu, 15 Nov 2012 20:28:59 +0000 Laura Rice 5647 at http://kut.org Texas Legislators Start Wrangling on State Budget (Update)