State Budget

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Many amendments are simply being withdrawn - or moved to Article XI in the budget.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.  

Read more
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).

8:48 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Budget Protesters Fill Hall Outside Texas House

ADAPT protestors mourning the "death" of several state programs.
Photo by KUT News

House Democrats aren't the only ones not happy about the spending cuts made in that chamber's version of the state budget.  ADAPT of Texas, a grassroots disability rights group, has a full protest on the 2nd floor landing right outside the House chamber.  Their chants have been heard over the last couple of hours anytime the debate in chambers hits a lull.  The ADAPT website lists several reasons for their opposition to the things the group says the bill does:

Read more
6:48 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

House Moves to Education Section of State Budget

The education debate begins in the House.
Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune for KUT News

Family planning was the target in in Article II of the budget. The Windham School District (an education system run in state prisons) appears to be the piggy bank for Article III. The first three amendments take about $1.1 million from Windham to pay for other educational programs. The fourth takes sweeps the entire Windham budget, $84 million, for other programs.

Read more
5:07 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Picking On Family Planning

Republicans had several amendments to move money out of family planning.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

The House is taking up the 371 pre-filed state budget amendments article by article.  There are 11 articles in the budget, although Article 11 is mostly a repository for projects that are not going to get funding. 

Read more
9:59 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Budget Debate Begins in the Texas House

Debate on HB 1 could last throughout the night.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House is off and running this morning on HB 1, the state budget bill. The $164 billion dollar budget is about $23 billion less than the budget passed in the 2009 legislative session. It also does not take into account population and enrollment growth in many state agencies and programs, like K-12 public education.

Read more
12:37 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

The Budget Bill Heads to the House

Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts will bring the budget to the floor on April 1st.
The Texas Tribune

The House Budget Bill is on its way to the full House for a vote.  

Read more
3:24 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Perry, House Reach Rainy Day Fund Deal

State leaders agree on tapping some of the Rainy Day fund to get the state's budget through August.
Image by KUT News.

Governor Rick Perry and House leadership have struck a deal that would use $3.2 billion from the so-called "Rainy Day Fund" to help close the budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

In a joint statement by the governor, House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Comptroller Susan Combs, the remainder of the budget gap would be closed by $800 million in cuts and by using an additional $300 million that's come from increased state sales tax collections over the past few months.

Read more
1:53 pm
Tue February 15, 2011

Round Rock ISD Seeks Public Input on State Budget Cuts

Round Rock ISD will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss budget cuts for the next school year.
Photo by KUT News

Round Rock ISD is looking to the public for some ideas on reducing its budget.

Read more
News Brief
6:26 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 25, 2011

The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas Senate Releases Its Draft Budget Proposal

First the House, now the Senate has released its projected cuts. The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday, following the House's first draft budget released last week.  It's $2.3 billion bigger than the House proposal at $158.7 billion. 

Read more
News Brief
5:36 am
Wed January 19, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 19, 2011

A draft state budget released Tuesday would make deep cuts to almost every area of state spending.
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Read more
11:35 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Estimated Texas Budget Gap Still Between $15 and $27 Billion

After today's eagerly awaited revenue estimate from the Texas Comptroller, it appears we are not much closer to knowing how deep and how wide the state's dreaded budget shortfall will be.

Listen to KUT's Ben Philpott talk about it with KUT freelancer Gretch Sanders.

Comptroller Susan Combs' revenue estimate, issued this morning, predicts the state will generate $72.2 billion to spend in the 2012-13 biennium, the two year time span for which legislators must draft a budget in the once-every-two-years session that begins tomorrow.

So that's how much money is coming in, but we won't know how big the budget gap is (and consequently, how severe cuts to government could be) until we receive a baseline budget from the Legislative Budget Board. No exact date has been set, but it is not expected for a couple weeks.

Read more
News Brief
5:49 am
Mon January 10, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 10, 2011

Today is the first day of Tom DeLay's resentencing hearing.

DeLay's Sentencing Hearing Starts Today

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will be back in an Austin courtroom.  His sentencing hearing starts this morning.  DeLay was convicted in November on money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges.  Those charges were in connection to the 2002 Texas elections.  DeLay faces up to life in prison but his attorneys are asking for probation.

Texas Comptroller Announcing Revenue Estimate

Read more
10:38 am
Tue January 4, 2011

Buyouts Of Tenured Professors In Texas And Across Nation

Image by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

We're beginning to see the consequences of state budget cuts at Texas' public universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education's Katherine Mangan reports today how more than 130 tenured professors at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University have accepted buyouts.

While the early retirements are expected to save nearly $18 million annually, they also carry administrative consequences for their colleges, Mangan reports.

Read more
12:29 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

These People Don't Want Lawmakers To Take An Ax To State Government

Image by Erik Reyna for KUT News

After months of speculation, we will finally get an idea of just how big Texas' budget shortfall is when the Comptroller Susan Combs releases her revenue estimate within the next seven days. Meanwhile, a group of mostly progressive organizations has banded together to urge a "balanced" approach to closing the budget shortfall.

Read more
News Brief
6:09 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Top Morning Stories December 10, 2010

Photo courtesy of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

Teacher Retirement System Earns 12.6% Return Rate

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas Trust Fund earned 12.6 percent this year.  TRS says it ranks first among its pension fund peers across the nation.  The fund's total value is more than $100 billion, up about $9 billion from September 2009.  The return meant a big pay out for the TRS' investment team.  They were awarded $9.7 million in performance bonuses.

Prison System Bracing for Cuts

Read more
News Brief
5:24 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Top Morning Stories December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards getting ready for an interview with KUT News in 2007.
Photo by Tiffany Jenkins for KUT.

Elizabeth Edwards Passes Away at 61

Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former Senator and Vice Presidential hopeful John Edwards, died Tuesday at her home in North Carolina.

Mrs. Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, the day her husband’s running mate conceded defeat to George W. Bush in that year’s presidential election.

Read more
12:41 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Walkout and Protest at University of Texas Over Budget Cuts

Image by Nick Robertson for KUT News

A group of students, faculty, and staff walked out of their buildings and held a loud marching demonstration this morning on the University of Texas campus.  They were protesting existing and future budget cuts brought on largely as a result of the state's budget gap, a shortfall that could exceed $20 billion.

Read more
2:50 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Economist Says Budget Cuts Will "Hurt" But Not "Be Fatal" to Austin

University of Texas labor economist Daniel Hamermesh doesn't expect budget cuts will cause major harm to Austin's economy.
Image courtesy Daniel Hamermesh

Take a look at our reporting partners the Texas Tribune's story on what lawmakers are telling constituents about the carnage coming to state government. In a post entitled, "There Will Be Blood,"  Ross Ramsey writes about State Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) speaking to a Tea Party group last week.

Read more
4:14 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

"Whispers" That Budget Gap is $28 Billion

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Sen. Kirk Watson is getting some face time in the local media today because of a legislative preview he held this morning at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. KXAN says Watson called on Texas Comptroller Susan Combs to release detailed numbers on the state's finances.

Read more