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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Jan. 18, 2011

Texans wait for first draft of scaled-down budget
Austin American-Statesman    Share   Share on
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Lawmakers are expected to get their first look at the next Texas budget this week, a document that will reveal broad intentions for how to deal with a revenue shortfall that experts estimate at between $15 and $27 billion. Republican leaders who hold all of the statewide positions in Texas have promised no tax increases, a signal deep cuts in state services are looming. The massive size of the revenue shortfall means no corner of state government will emerge unscathed. Nursing homes, schools, colleges and universities and prisons are among the programs that could fall victim to the state budget ax. More

Perry makes sanctuary cities a top issue for Legislature
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a legislative session expected to be dominated by the budget and redistricting, Republican Gov. Rick Perry has pushed the issue of sanctuary cities — where law enforcement officials don't ask about immigration status during routine calls — to the front of the line. By making it an emergency issue, the Republican-dominated Legislature can start considering this issue in the first month of the session, pushing it ahead of most other issues and drawing the ire of many Democrats who say it is about partisan politics. More

Texas Republican lawmakers put state's $9 billion
rainy day fund off limits

Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The budget plan that the Texas House of Representatives will release may eliminate more than 8,000 jobs and cut spending on schools, universities and social services by 11 percent. It will not tap $9.4 billion set aside for deep economic stress, Republicans say. The Rainy Day fund will grow 14 percent by Aug. 31, 2013, bolstered by revenue from levies on oil and gas production, State Comptroller Susan Combs estimated this month. The fund has risen sixfold since 2007 as other states drained reserves to balance total deficits likely to top $190 billion over the next two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More

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Job cuts may be just the beginning
Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With some top state leaders warning that Texas' dire fiscal situation will lead to the loss of several thousand state jobs, House budget writers will release their first draft budget — and big job cuts may be just the beginning. House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, who will file the budget bill in the House, has spoken candidly about job losses. More

Donors, corporate interests footing bill for Rick Perry's inauguration
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Before publicly taking the oath today for another term, Rick Perry had some private time with corporate interests and political supporters bankrolling the inauguration. The Republican governor and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst were the featured attraction Monday night at an invitation-only soiree for donors giving as much as $100,000. Oil executives, beer distributors, lobbyists and big-dollar campaign donors — many with interests before the state — are providing the nearly $2 million for the swearing-in. In exchange, they are offered various levels of access. More

Candidates line up for Hutchison seat
The Associated Press via The Amarillo Globe-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Former President George H.W. Bush is wasting no time deciding who he thinks should succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Bush, more than a year before the GOP primary, threw his support Monday behind former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams of Fort Worth. "I wanted to get on board early," Bush said while seated next to Williams at the former president's Houston office. "I just know he can do this job." More

New legislative session could mean big changes for rural Texas
Bonham Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A queue of critical issues — eminent domain reform, water rights, redistricting — awaits the Texas Legislature's return to Austin, and many could significantly impact rural communities across the Lone Star State. Of utmost importance to Farm Bureau is true reform of eminent domain laws. More

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Straus cruises to re-election as speaker of the Texas House
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The 82nd Legislature got under way as House Speaker Joe Straus quelled a conservative rebellion to retain his leadership post and Gov. Rick Perry called on lawmakers to pursue a conservative course that will result in a "leaner, smarter" state government. Straus, a San Antonio Republican who became speaker in 2009, was elected to a second term by a 132-15 vote after his two challengers, Reps. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, and Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, dropped out. More

State offering $45 million to home buyer assistance program
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on
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The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs released $45 million to consumers through its first-time home buyer program. The Texas Mortgage Credit Program is meant to help reduce a borrower's tax liability by offering a credit in exchange for taking a certified home buyer education class. Home buyers could save up to $2,000 in annual taxes, according to the state. More

6 trends that will shape green homes
EcoHome Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Conservation — of energy, water, resources, and homeowners' money — will drive green home building this year. Energy-efficient and low-water-use products, smaller homes, affordable design ideas, and denser neighborhoods will score big with homeowners and buyers. Here are six trends that will shape what clients want in 2011. More
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