State Budget

Rick Perry
4:18 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

The Perry Pledge: Spending Cuts, No New Taxes

Gov. Perry called on legislators to back his "Budget Compact" today.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry is calling on state lawmakers to cut spending and keep taxes level in the state’s next budget. Perry unveiled details of the “Texas Budget Compact” in Houston today.

“By keeping this tight rein on spending, we can build a more solid, predictable economy that doesn’t put off tough decisions until, in some cases, it’s too late to deal with them,” Gov. Perry told the crowd in Houston. In details noted on the Governor’s website, Perry also called to “preserve a strong Rainy Day Fund” and “cut unnecessary and duplicative government programs and agencies.”

The state is in the middle of a two year budget passed by lawmakers in 2011. That budget cycle cut spending by $15 billion.

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Politics
5:24 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Interview: Global Integrity’s Nathaniel Heller on Potential for Corruption in U.S. Statehouses

A map showing the State Integrity Index's scores for all 50 states.
Image courtesy iwatchnews.org

A study of state government safeguards against corruption gave Texas a barely-passing grade of  D-plus.

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Texas
11:03 am
Thu March 15, 2012

State Spends Big to Pay Workers for Unused Vacation

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Texas government agencies have paid fired or resigning state employees more than $500 million in unused vacation time over the last decade. It’s a staggering sum that fiscal conservative critics call “ridiculous,” especially in tough budget times.

But state workers say what’s ridiculous is that so many jobs have been cut — and that agencies are so understaffed that employees can’t take vacations.

In each of the last 10 years, state officials paid out an average $50 million in accrued vacation time, according to data from the Texas comptroller’s office. That number crept up to $68 million in 2004 and $67 million last year — both on the heels of a budget shortfall and related layoffs.

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Education
1:35 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Report: 32,000 School Jobs Eliminated By State Budget Cuts

State lawmakers trimmed about $5 billion from education spending in the last legislative session, which led to the elimination of 32,000 school jobs, according to a report.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

Texas public school districts have an estimated 32,000 fewer employees than they may have had if the state hadn’t cut more than $5 billion in public education spending during the legislative session. That includes almost 12,000 fewer teachers.

The numbers are from this report released by an Austin-based school finance consulting firm. Moak, Casey & Associates recently surveyed school districts across the state. 60 participated.

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Texas
9:58 am
Thu July 14, 2011

Texas Communities Struggle to Fund Public Safety

By Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

The tiny East Texas town of Alto made national headlines this summer when it furloughed its five-man police department in an effort to save money in this ailing economy.

But Alto is hardly the only Texas community struggling to fund public safety amid falling tax revenues and shrinking state and federal aid. Most cities aren't taking the drastic measures Alto did, but they're finding other ways to scale back costs, said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League.

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Education
11:12 am
Wed July 13, 2011

TEA Announces 178 Additional Layoffs

The Texas Education Agency is laying off more staff to keep up with state budget cuts, reducing some of the agency support available to teachers and school districts.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas Education Agency announced another 178 employees will be laid off this week. This is in addition to the 91 employees that were laid off in February of this year.

In addition to the 269 terminated employees, 58 employees retired or resigned and 16 were transferred.

The layoffs mean TEA will see a 32% reduction in staff due to a $48 million--or 36%--budget cut from the state.

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Politics
2:34 pm
Mon July 4, 2011

Old Textbooks to Greet Students in the Fall

Photo via Flickr user pink_fish13

The effects of massive state budget cuts are beginning show up in public schools. Lawmakers cut about $4-billion from the state's K-12 budget in the just finished regular and special legislative sessions. That could mean fewer teachers and larger classes for some.

 The Associated Press reports the cuts will also mean old textbooks for students in the fall. 

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Politics
2:36 pm
Sun May 29, 2011

A Make-or-Break Day for the Texas State Budget

The 2012-13 budget has been approved by both the House and the Senate, and now, with less than two days left in the legislative session, lawmakers have to pay for it by passing one more piece of legislation that raises $3.5 billion in "non-tax revenue" and revises school finance law to allow the state to reduce aid to public schools by $4 billion.

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News Brief
5:50 am
Mon May 23, 2011

Top Morning Stories May 23, 2011

Texas budget negotiators are continuing work Monday to finalize a state budget bill for 2012-2013.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT.

Back to Work on the Budget

Texas lawmakers get back to work today on the state’s budget for the next two years.  House and Senate negotiators have reached an overall budget agreement but are still working on the details in areas such as public education and higher education. There are a few other bills, including a school finance bill, lawmakers have to pass for the state’s budget to balance.  The regular legislative session ends next Monday, May 30.

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Politics
9:00 pm
Sat May 21, 2011

The Budget: Where Everything Stands

Lawmakers are poised to get all their budget work done in the next few days.
Photo Courtesy The Texas Tribune

Where did the time go? Texas legislators are a mere nine days away from the end of the session and still have to finish work on several bills to finish up their budget for the two-year period that starts September 1.

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Politics
12:35 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Budget Delays Affecting UT Health Insurance Program

With no agreement on the budget - those waiting to find out how much money they'll get are delaying some programs.
KUT News

The University of Texas system has informed employees that several health insurance decisions are being put on hold while the Texas legislature tries to figure out how much money its willing to spend on higher education in the next budget.

The letter was followed by an e-mail to those in the UT System highlighting the immediate delays.

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Texas Legislature
12:37 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

State Budget May Rely on "Fiscal Matters" Bills

The Texas House is scheduled to debate some so-called fiscal matters bills Thursday. Some lawmakers say these bills are key to passing a state budget during the regular session.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.
  • An error occurred ingesting this audio file to NPR

Budget negotiators in the Legislature are at a standstill over the state’s budget for the next two years.  Today the Texas House could take up a couple of so-called “fiscal matters” bills that the Senate’s finance chairman says are key to balancing and passing a state budget without going into overtime, in other words,  a special legislative session this summer. 

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News Brief
5:51 am
Thu May 19, 2011

Top Morning Stories May 19, 2011

The accused Fort Hood shooter’s defense team is scheduled to meet with Fort Hood’s new commander Thursday.
Sketch courtesy of Pat Lopez.

Charged Fort Hood Shooter's Defense Meeting with Commander

Major Nidal Hasan's defense counsel is scheduled to meet with Fort Hood's commander today.  Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell will decide whether Hasan will be court martialed and whether he will face the death penalty. Hasan's lead attorney, John Galligan, told the Associated Press he'll urge Campbell not to seek the death penalty because those cases are more costly and time consuming. 

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Politics
11:08 am
Thu May 12, 2011

What If Texas Doesn't Pass a School Finance Bill?

With time running out, lawmakers still don't have a new public school funding system that would allow billions of dollars in cuts.
Texas Tribune

Nobody wanted to think about it in January. But as the middle of May approaches, with little more than two weeks left of the 82nd legislative session, a growing chorus of voices is asking: What happens if lawmakers can’t agree on school finance reform?

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News Brief
9:12 am
Thu April 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 28, 2011

The Texas House approved a redistricting map early Thursday morning.
Photo by KUT News

Texas Budget Having Trouble in the Senate

Senate budget writer Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) hasn't been able to round up the votes he needs to get the Senate's version of the state budget to the floor for debate. Remember the Senate has what's called the two-thirds rule, which means each bill must get the support of two thirds of the chamber before lawmakers even get a chance to try to pass it.

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Politics
11:31 am
Thu April 21, 2011

Texas Senate Budget Spends Another $3 Billion From Rainy Day Fund

In an 11-4 vote, the Senate Finance Committee approved a spending plan that draws another $3 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Texas Senate Finance Committee has approved a budget that spends down an additional $3 billion from the state's Rainy Day fund, according to our political reporting partner the Texas Tribune.  The 11-4 vote came faster than expected this morning, and it sets up a showdown between House and Senate lawmakers.

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news brief
5:54 am
Thu April 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 21, 2011

Sen. Steve Ogden R-Bryan during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, courtesy of the Texas Tribune.

Senate Committee to Take Up Budget

The Texas Senate Finance Committee will take up the state's budget and could vote on it today. The Senate's proposed cuts aren't as deep as those approved by the House.  KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, reports Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, wants to include a measure to use $3 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget if additional revenue can't be found. Once the committee votes, the budget bill goes to the full senate.

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Texas
7:32 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 4, 2011

The Texas House passed its budget bill for 2012-2013 late last night.
Photo by KUT News

Texas House Approves Budget Bill

The House approved a budget of $164.5 billion last night for the next biennium with a 98-49 vote, largely along party lines. The budget is around $23 billion smaller than the state's current two-year budget. As expected, the House budget makes deep cuts to public education and health and human services spending.  The legislation now heads to the Senate where changes are expected.

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Politics
5:31 pm
Sun April 3, 2011

Texas House Budget Debate - Part II

Debate today is going much faster than Friday/Saturday.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

If you're watching the Texas House budget debate today - don't blink.  

While it took about 16 hours to get through the first three articles of the budget Friday, lawmakers are zooming through their debate on the remaining parts of the budget.  

Many amendments are simply being withdrawn - or moved to Article XI in the budget.  That's the place were projects without funding go to hang out just in case money can be found to fund them.  

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Politics
12:39 am
Sat April 2, 2011

Texas House Closes Budget Debate for the Night

Lawmakers will break until Sunday.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House has ended debate for the night on the state budget.  Lawmakers were able to get through the first 3 articles of the $164 billion bill - that includes general government (I), health and human services (II) and education (III).

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