2013 Lege–Constitutional Limit on Spending

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

Should the legislators you elect be trusted to decide how large the state budget should be, or should a rigid limit be written into the Texas Constitution so that future budgets are locked into a formula set in stone? Texas currently has a constitutional provision that caps growth in spending from certain taxes at the […]

Initial Budget Proposals Include Cuts We Can’t Afford

Today, we learned a little about what the House and Senate budget proposals included, as well as what the Legislative Budget Board estimates is necessary to cover 2014-15 growth. We spent some time at the Capitol today doing preliminary analysis and comparing what each chamber is proposing to spend to what is needed to fund growth for […]

State Leaders Have the Opportunity to Undo Devastating 2011 Cuts and Invest in Our Future

Working for a Better Texas

(AUSTIN, Texas)–January 7, 2013–The Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following statement in response to today’s release of the biennial revenue estimate by the state comptroller. “Today Texas lawmakers heard they will have $101.4 billion in General Revenue to work with when writing the 2014-15 state budget. However, $5 […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part Six

We’ve looked at what’s needed in 2014-15 to cover student or client growth and cost increases in some key state services – public and higher education, health and human services, state worker benefits, and prisons. Now it’s time to see what the “bare bones” big picture adds up to, plus get a sense of what […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part Five

We wind down our series on the budget and state spending needs by looking at state employee/retiree benefits and prisons. The Employees Retirement System budget proposal for 2014-15 requires a $262 million General Revenue increase to preserve pension, health care, and insurance benefits for more than 547,000 Texans, including state workers’ dependents. Beyond that “current […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part Three

The 2014-15 consolidated HHS proposal to provide CHIP and Medicaid-supported health care, Early Childhood Intervention programs, foster care/child protective services, state hospitals, and various public health and nutrition services includes the following: a $1.4 billion General Revenue baseline increase (from $27.7 billion in 2012-13, after paying the Medicaid I.O.U., to $29.1 billion in 2014-15); $1.6 […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part Two

Public education is important in the Texas budget not just because it’s the biggest piece (42 percent of General Revenue spending), but because of its key role in preparing roughly 5 million students to be the college students, productive workers, and informed citizens of the future. Unfortunately, the 2011 Legislature made $5.3 billion in cuts […]

The Budget Puzzle–Part One

With three weeks remaining before the 83rd Session starts, one major piece of the budget puzzle is missing–the total amount of money our state legislators will have as they tackle the 2014-15 budget. The state comptroller will add this piece to the puzzle before Jan. 8, and based on recent sales tax improvements, more money […]

Less Business Tax Revenue Means Less Money for Public Investments

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

You may have heard of the influential right-wing organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. The organization promotes policies to cut taxes and regulations in the guise of promoting economic growth–the favorite approach of the Governor and Texas Legislature. But what ALEC’s policies really do is reduce services, opportunity and accountability. A new […]

Texas’ Income Gap Is the 7th Highest in the U.S.

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

The income gap between the Texas families at the top and bottom of the income ladder is the 7th highest in the nation, according to a new report by two national research organizations. The average household income for the richest one-fifth of Texas households is 8.6 times greater than the average for the poorest one-fifth.  […]