Budget Season in Texas Means Sleepless Nights

What keeps you up at night? Is it the risks of not having health insurance? The rising cost of college? Overcrowded classrooms at your child’s school? Well, it’s budget season at the Texas Capitol, and how legislators decide to invest state money could profoundly affect these and other aspects of our lives. What have we […]

Who Pays Taxes in Texas?

Brakeyshia Samms, State Policy Fellow

Last week’s release of the 2015 Tax Exemption and Tax Incidence report by the Comptroller’s office is great reminder that Texas tax system is in dire need of a little spring-cleaning. The report reveals the unfairness of our tax system, since low-and moderate-income Texas households bear a disproportionate share of state and local taxes. The unfairness […]

Impact of Lower Oil Prices to State Revenue

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

The price of oil, which was over $100 per barrel last summer, has lately been selling at half that amount. Drilling new wells has slowed down, so we’re left to wonder: What happens to state revenue if oil and gas tax revenues fall? Here’s the answer: For every billion dollars that oil and gas production […]

Fuel for the Legislative Session

Halfway through the Texas Legislative Session, the pace is faster and the stakes are higher. Want to know what helps me ride the proverbial waves at the Capitol? Stepping just outside the pink dome. The stately old live oaks and spring-blooming trees put everything in perspective, and offer shade while I chat with concerned Texans, […]

Budget Heads to the House Floor

House budget writers left over $8 billion on the table in available general revenue, and have $2 billion in wiggle room under the spending growth cap. These funds could go a long way to increasing investments in Pre-K, community mental health services, community colleges, and other services that benefit hardworking Texans and businesses. Now these needs are competing with the tax cuts promised by leaders in both chambers.

Population Growth + Inflation Doesn’t Add Up for Texas

Imagine you move into a new house only to discover that the ceilings are only 5 feet high, forcing you to walk around hunched over. You would be outraged, uncomfortable, and unable to use your home to its full potential. There is a real danger that future legislators may find a similarly restrictive ceiling on […]

A Smart Approach to Closing a Costly Loophole

Senator Rodney Ellis proposed new legislation Tuesday to close a state loophole that allows commercial property owners to skirt their responsibility and significantly reduce their property tax bills below the property’s value by routinely appealing the appraised value of their property. Senator Ellis’ SB 1084 would require commercial property owners protesting appraised value to compare […]

Texas Medicaid Spending in Context

The 84th Legislative Session is now well underway, with committees appointed and holding hearings on budget and other important policy issues. In both House and Senate budget hearings, you may have heard legislators surprised to hear how much Texas Medicaid spending has grown. When we talk about increased Medicaid spending, we have to keep in […]

Big Week for Texas’ Ability to Invest

This week is a tipping point for the 84th Texas Legislature. Lawmakers will weigh some game-changing bills that would affect our state’s ability to invest in our future. Budget and tax debates don’t always draw the biggest crowds of concerned Texans, but all of us have a stake in the outcomes of these policy discussions. […]

Tax Policy Proposals Recap

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

This week we’ve looked at a number of tax policy proposals coming out of the Senate, including those that are part of the $4.6 billion tax cut package announced by Senator Jane Nelson and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. We’re concerned that these proposals take Texas in the wrong direction at a time when our population […]