AM Update
8:46 am
Mon April 16, 2012

AM Update: Perry's Spending Pledge, AISD Budget Plan, LCRA's Evaporating Water

Governor Rick Perry to Unveil Budget Pledge

From the Texas Tribune, Governor Rick Perry is focusing on the state’s financial future. He’ll be in Houston this afternoon to talk about a budget plan.

Perry will unveil a pledge he’ll ask politicians to sign. It promises to cut spending, keep taxes the same and set strict limits on how much government can expand. It’s his first major move as governor since dropping out of the presidential race.

Perry says this pledge will “lead to a stronger Texas.” But some state Democrats aren’t so sure.

Representative Jessica Farrar of Houston, the leader of the House Democrats, told the Texas Tribune that Perry’s proposal “will result in a doubling down of the devastating cuts already made to public schools, colleges and universities.”

AISD School Board Meets for Budget Talks

The Austin Independent School District Board is meeting tonight to discuss changes to next year’s budget.

In this current draft of the budget, revenue is down from this fiscal year and spending is up. The board will also discuss a possible tax rate election.

There will be an opportunity for the public to get in on the conversation about the preliminary budget tomorrow. A community meeting will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bowie High School.

On Wednesday, staff members are invited to discuss the budget at 6 p.m. at McCallum High School.

Highland Lake Water Use Up

Water use from the Highland Lakes went up from 2010 to 2011. The Lower Colorado River Authority says municipalities used a total of 184,889 acre-feet last year. The top municipal user was the City of Austin — which accounted for about 58 percent of municipal use (or 106,662 acre-feet.) The City of Austin also used 61,712 acre-feet of water from the Colorado River.

But that total was eclipsed by the amount of water that evaporated from the Highland Lakes due to hot temperatures and high winds — 192,404 acre-feet.

Agricultural use of Highland Lake water accounts for the largest percentage of use. It more than doubled but was partly offset by lower water use from the Colorado River. Overall industrial water use decreased.