News and Articles

Below are listed articles that should be useful to those concerned with state finances. The articles are from newspapers, magazines, and websites.


Jan. 7 - Comptroller Combs BRE transcript Press reports on the BRE:
Robert T. Garrett, Dallas Morning News Combs estimates revenue growth will cool, lawmakers will have $101 billion for general-purpose spending
Peggy Fikac, San Antonio Express-News Revenue estimate soars on eve of 83rd Texas Legislature
Paul J. Weber, The Associated Press Texas revenue estimate brighter on eve of session
Kate Alexander, Austin American Statesman State leaders urge spending restraint as revenues increase
David Mildenberg, Bloomburg Texas Starts Budget Debate Flush With Energy Boom Cash
Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune Combs: Lawmakers Will Have $101.4 Billion for Budget
Jan. 1 - Expected surplus won’t lessen 2013 Texas budget fight Paul J. Weber of the AP writes that even given the expected robust surplus, there are concerns that that won't be enough to fund all the reductions imposed by the 82nd Legislature. With my "tax savings" maybe I'll purchase a calculator for members of the 83rd Legislature so they can better crunch the numbers. :-)
Dec. 29 - Texas' GOP budget writers are in no hurry to restore billions cut from schools Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News has another informative post concerning what should be expected from budget writers when the session commenses January 7. According to Rep. Pitts who, "expects Comptroller Susan Combs’ two-year revenue estimate, which limits what lawmakers can spend, 'to be pretty conservative, and so we’re being very conservative.'" Given the negative growth in the current estimate, how much more conservative can the Comptroller be?
Dec. 27 - 2012: The Year in Graphs, Ezra Klein and
Rattner: 2012 in Charts
Ezra Klein of the Washington Post's Wonkblog "asked our favorite professional wonks — economists, political scientist, politicians and more — to see what graphs and charts they felt did the best job explaining the past year." The link presents these graphs. They are quite informative.
Steven Rattner from the Times also prepared nine charts that he offered "to help provide facts and context for the debate around important issues."
Dec. 23 - Much of extra income for state already spent Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle has an informative piece concerning the upcoming robust state fiscal condition. While revenue will substantially increase, this increase is already obligated.
Dec. 21 - State budget scholars: Texas’ fiscal outlook good for now, though eroded sales tax is among ‘warning signs’ Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News has another informative post to the Trail Blazers Blog concerning former Chief Revenue Estimator and Deputy Comptroller Billy Hamiltonan's comprehensive study of the Texas fiscal outlook. One should pay special attention to the writeup on tax volatility, pg. 32, as it contains quite useful analysis.
Dec. 17 - Retired fiscal analyst Greenfield says state flush enough to undo all the school cuts Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News posted to the Trail Blazers Blog an extensive writeup of my recent analysis. I must also commend him for the picture displayed.
Dec. 15 - Texas budget looking sunnier in 2013 Kate Alexander of the Austin American-Statesman has an informative piece on the state's forthcoming budget situation. Her reporting of the state surplus is consistent with my recent analysis.
Dec. 3 - Lines Blur as Texas Gives Industries a Bonanza The Times has done extension research on state economic development efforts. We are No. 1 in providing benes to corporations. According to the Times, "Texas spends at least $19.1 billion per year on incentive programs". One would have expected that with all this economic development, the state's proverty rate, and uninsured rate would be markedly lower. :-)
Nov 26 - The Cost and Coverage Implications of the ACA Medicaid Expansion: National and State-by-State Analysis This Kaiser Foundation study provides information on how each state would benefit from expanding Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Texas would benefit greatly, with it uninsured being reduced by over 50 percent. Over the decade the additional costs to the state would be around $1 billion, about 1 percent of all funds revenue.
Oct 29 - Texas Wants More Medicaid Control Ben Philpott of KUT provides a good overview of the Medicaid issue. One might also view Ray Perryman's analysis of the benefits of implementing ObamaCare, the ACA, for the Texas Medicaid program. Finding the $4 bil is a no-brainer, WTF3
Oct 19 - At Budget Meetings, Policy Decisions Few Voters Notice Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune has an excellent analyze on how legislators are reviewing "key "process" decisions — adopting an official prediction of how much the economy and population will grow, and deciding how big a patch to put on the current state budget — could limit state spending for the next two years." What is interesting is that the revenue estimate in January should provide more than enough funding to remedy this biennium's budget adjustments and for substantial growth in FY14-15.
Oct 18 - Texas Lawmakers Take Aim at Accounting Tricks Ben Philpott of the Texas Tribune provides insight into how legislators will remedy the "accounting gimmicks used to help balance the current budget." As the person who suggested moving the employee payday by 1 day, I'm somewhat heartbroken. :-)
Sept 7 -Budget Outlook is Better, but Not Necessarily Good Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune offered, "Texas is not floating in cash, but the doom and gloom offered by some of the state’s top budget writers might be overstating the trouble ahead. Some analysts expect things to be tight, but easier than they were in the 2011 session, which resulted in significant cuts." One might read the comment following the piece.



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