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TAB News Briefs
July 9, 2009
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Texas Water Board Awarded Stimulus Funds
from The Austin Business Journal
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $160 million worth of stimulus funds to the Texas Water Development Board to help finance the cost of replacing aging water infrastructure in the state. EPA officials say this new infusion of money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help state and local governments invest in a number of overdue water projects that officials say are essential to protecting public health and the environment. More


Allstate Set to Raise Homeowner's Insurance in North Texas by 6.2 Percent
from The Dallas Morning News
North Texas homeowners insured by Allstate will see their rates increase an average 6.2 percent beginning next month under a rate plan filed by the company with the Texas Department of Insurance. A spokesman for Allstate, the second-largest property insurer in Texas, said Tuesday that the increase is primarily driven by broader severe weather activity across the state and higher costs to rebuild after fire, wind and hail losses. More

Perry Campaign Reports Raising $4.2 Million in Nine Days
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The battle for bucks in the Republican gubernatorial race heated up Wednesday as Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign announced that it has raised $4.2 million in nine days, nearly doubling contributions for the same period in 2005 during Perry’s last campaign. More

Texas Comptroller to Review Appraisal Taxes
from The Houston Business Journal
The passage of House Bill 8 by the Texas Legislature in its most recent session, gives Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ office control over reviewing the performance of each county appraisal district every other year when the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2010. In a non-review year, Combs’ office will conduct a property value study to determine the taxable value in each school district. More

565,000 New Jobless Claims, Lowest Level Since January
from The Associated Press via The Brownsville Herald
The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits last week fell to lowest level since early January, largely due to changes in the timing of auto industry layoffs. Continuing claims, meanwhile, unexpectedly jumped to a record-high. While layoffs are slowing, unemployed workers are having a difficult time finding new jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent last month and is expected to top 10 percent by the end of this year. More

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Cities Dump Fees to Bolster Building in Recession
from The Associated Press
The trend to suspend or lower impact fees has prompted debate over whether spurring a construction resurgence is more important than forcing new businesses or residents to pay upfront for services, or if these communities are laying the groundwork for haphazard development and higher taxes for current residents. Measures have been debated in Washington state, Texas, New Mexico, New Hampshire, California and elsewhere. More

Killeen Reviews Drainage Procedure
from The Killeen Daily Herald
What goes down the drain stays down the drain – and eventually makes its way into local rivers and lakes. It may seem obvious, but all that junk in the drains picked up by flowing water has to go somewhere, and the more of it there is, the bigger hazard it creates. That's the firm position of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is hammering that fact into the public conscience, and using a required city ordinance as the nail to drive it home. The city of Killeen has been discussing an amendment of its municipal drainage ordinance to reduce the adverse effects of what the Environmental Protection Agency calls "illicit discharge." More

Housing Development Still on Track
from The San Antonio Express-News
The city Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a developer's bid to build a 420-home subdivision, despite opposition from the Army and more than a dozen speakers worried about the project's impact on Camp Bullis. With a near-standing-room-only crowd on hand and TV cameras rolling, the commission voted 5 to 2 to modify Palmira, a 335.5-acre subdivision three miles west of Camp Bullis. More

Pickens Calls Off Texas Wind Farm
from The Abilene Reporter-News
Plans for the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle have been scrapped, energy baron T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday, and he's looking for a home for 687 giant wind turbines. Pickens has already ordered the turbines, which can stand 400 feet tall - taller than most 30-story buildings. "When I start receiving those turbines, I've got to ... like I said, my garage won't hold them,” the legendary Texas oilman said. “They've got to go someplace." More

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