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TAB News Briefs
Jan. 29, 2009
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Perry Delivers Speech to Legislature
from The Brownsville Herald
As other states struggle and raise taxes, Texas should be bold and try to attract more businesses and jobs through financial incentives and tax relief while easing tuition expenses for college students, Gov. Rick Perry told the Legislature on Tuesday. Perry told House and Senate members in his "State of the State" address that he wants to pump more than $500 million combined into a job creation fund, an emerging technology fund and a film-making incentives account in the coming two-year budget. He said all have a track record of success. More

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Opinion: Perry Sounds Like a Man Fighting for Governor Job in Speech
from The Dallas Morning News
Gov. Rick Perry delivered his state of the state address to a joint session of the Legislature as if it were a campaign speech. And it was. As he walked out of the House chamber Tuesday, one of the state’s top education leaders said: “You just heard the first campaign speech of the 2010 Republican primary.” A state of the state gives governors an opportunity to outline their policy agenda to a newly convened Legislature. But with the Republican governor planning to run for re-election next year — and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison preparing to challenge him — there was plenty to energize a conservative, red-meat political base Perry is counting on. More

Report Outlines Decline in Texas Construction
from The Houston Business Journal
Texas is expected to experience a considerable slowdown in construction activity in 2009, according to a report issued by McGraw-Hill Construction. The outlook for the coming year calls for construction spending of roughly $54.4 billion in Texas, down 13 percent from 2008, the report indicates. However the building of the giant Motiva and Valero refineries in Port Arthur that created 5,000 jobs buoyed the numbers in 2008. More

Texas Republicans Assail Obama Stimulus Plan
from The Houston Chronicle
After President Barack Obama’s back-to-back meetings with GOP lawmakers Tuesday to discuss his $825 billion economic package, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs praised the “very cordial” tone of the gatherings and effused: “I think we will have Republican support for this bill.” He obviously hadn’t talked to any Texas Republicans. More

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Survivors of Austin’s Late 80s Bust Tell of Lessons Learned
from The Austin American-Statesman
Last year was no bed of roses for anyone as businesses confronted the worst economic turmoil in decades. It felt uncomfortably familiar to some Austin businesspeople who remember the mid- to late 1980s, when the oil bust and savings and loan crisis swept through Texas like a tornado, wiping out real estate values and forcing many into bankruptcy or foreclosure. Austin was not spared: New office buildings stood empty, home values plummeted and even savvy businesspeople swallowed huge losses. The Austin American Statesman asked some Austin business leaders to share what they learned then that is helping them survive now. More

DFW Real Estate Execs Don’t Expect Quick Turn Around
from The Dallas Morning News
Don't expect any quick deals in Dallas-Fort Worth's stalled real estate market. Oh, investors are out there, but they are waiting until the right time to strike. "There has been a huge amount of money lost by getting in too early," Herbert Weitzman, who recently formed an acquisition partnership with Dallas investor Craig Hall, told real estate execs. Weitzman - who's also CEO of Dallas-based retail broker Weitzman Group - was on a panel of industry veterans who spoke late Wednesday at a meeting of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. "Things are not going to get better very soon," Weitzman warned. "The deals that are going to happen are going to be later in the year. More

Texas House Adopts Rules to Curb Speaker’s Power
from The Dallas Morning News
House members say they want to trust. But new era or not, they still need to verify. In adopting rules they'll operate under for this year's session, members on Wednesday reflected damage from six years of acrimony in their chamber. Representatives wrangled over how to limit a speaker's power over bills and how to protect against overreach by a favored few. At one point, several asked new Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to verify the accuracy of a close vote. The issue was which committee would handle matters relating to the federal economic stimulus package. Straus ordered a check of the vote. Before it could occur, though, his allies forged a compromise. Still, the day was filled with discussions of potential abuse of power. More

Texas’ Revenue Problems Spark New Push for Casinos at Legislature
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
With the economy slumping and state revenue getting tighter, gambling proponents are betting that it’s the perfect time to bring casino-style gambling to Texas. They say casinos could bring billions of dollars into the state and add thousands of jobs. Some of the extra push this session is coming from Galveston, the storm-ravaged island that is struggling to recover from Hurricane Ike. And the continued expansion of tribal casinos just across the border in Oklahoma continues to attract more dollars from North Texas. More

PoliTex Blog: Texas Donors Seen as Key to Help GOP Win Back Congress
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Politico.com has a story on how both parties are bracing for the recession to hurt campaign fundraising. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who now chairs the National Senate Republican Committee, says he's hoping to tap Texas donors who haven't been hit as hard by the downturn to help fuel a nationwide GOP comeback. More

House Passes $810 Billion Stimulus Plan
from The Austin American-Statesman
Without a single Republican vote, President Barack Obama won House approval Wednesday for an $819 billion economic recovery plan as congressional Democrats sought to temper their own differences over the enormous package of tax cuts and spending. The massive two-year stimulus package reflects a broad view in Congress that urgent fiscal help is needed for an economy in crisis, at a time when the Federal Reserve has already cut interest rates almost to zero. More

Craddick: The Happy Warrior
from The Austin American-Statesman
Anyone who expected former Speaker Tom Craddick to sulk after he lost the speakership doesn’t know the Midland Republican. During Wednesday’s debate on the House rules, a jovial and relaxed Craddick moved among members, discussing the proposals. Craddick has never been one to make speeches, but old allies huddled around their former leader, seeking advice. After all, who better to ask? Craddick’s 40 years in the House of Representatives makes the Midland Republican the most tenured member and one who has seen it all. More

Perry: Let's Build a Stronger Texas Together
from The Austin American-Statesman
"On Tuesday, I delivered my State of the State address to the 81st Legislature outlining priorities that will preserve our state's strength and security while helping Texans weather the effects of the global economic downturn. This session, elected state leaders have an opportunity to build on a strong foundation by maintaining a focus on the people we serve and continuing our careful stewardship of the tax dollars they send us." More

Governor Says Texas Economy 'Strong,' 'Good'
from The Tyler Morning Telegraph
After declaring the state of the state as "good," Gov. Rick Perry told legislators they should act during the session to minimize the impact of the looming global economic crisis by bringing more employers to the state, educating the work force, improving statewide healthcare, addressing Texas' infrastructure and natural resource demands while preparing a fiscally conservative budget. During his State of the State Address in the House chamber, with representatives and senators looking on, the governor described the state as "strong" and "good," but reminded legislators that Texas is not immune to the economic crunch. More

Texas Outdoors Loses One of Its Biggest Supporters
from The Austin American-Statesman
John Parker, greater than the sum of all the parts of his 73 years on Earth, died Monday. He'd been a homebuilder and a clothing store owner, but he spent the last six years of his life as a Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioner and that was his calling, his reason for living. He died after attending his last official meeting last week. He wasn't a rich guy, though he succeeded in a rich guy's world. He wore bow ties, but he wasn't all that pretty. More





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