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Home   About Us   Membership   Education   Events   Contact Us           May 26, 2015


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Texas House, Senate agree to $3.8B cut in property, business taxes
The Dallas Morning News
Texas' top leaders announced a final agreement on a plan to cut homeowners' and businesses' taxes by nearly $3.8 billion over the next two years. The plan includes a reduction in school property taxes worth about $125 a year to the average homeowner, if voters approve a constitutional amendment in November, and a 25 percent, across-the-board cut in business-franchise or “margins” tax rates.
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New settlement procedures are a big deal; learn the rules
National Association of Home Builders
A new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that takes effect on Aug. 1 requires that a closing disclosure must be provided to the consumer a full three days prior to closing. NAHB has created an FAQ to help housing industry professionals negotiate the new rules and avoid unnecessary closing delays.
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Governor Abbott adds to disaster list
Office of the Governor
In response to the flooding and other recent weather events, Governor Abbott added another 24 to the list of counties with a disaster declaration. He had already declared 13 counties under a disaster declaration this month. Links to a variety of sites as well as a link to the pdf of "Rebuilding Following a Disaster" are available on the TAB website. The documents we have prepared contains a wealth of information that you may find useful and may want to provide to interested persons in your community. The Disaster Declaration in the many counties around the state, Ch. 57 of the Business and Commerce Code applies to some contracts to clean up or rebuild in those areas (those contractors with offices in the affected counties or adjacent counties for over a year are exempted). Click here for a brief explanation of the implications of the act and the statute.
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Analysis: With a week to go, important fights are over
The Texas Tribune
Somebody's favorite legislation will fall victim to deadlines during the last week of the 84th legislative session. But the big stuff is done. The budget, tax bills, border security legislation, open carry of handguns, a dash of ethics and a swipe or two at local control — the things state leaders were talking about before the session started — are mostly out of the way. Add an asterisk for transportation issues still awaiting a House-Senate parlay.
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Sunbelt Builders Show™ Announces Education Sessions
TAB
The 2015 Sunbelt Builders Show™ just announced its seven education sessions that will take place on July 29-30 at the Gaylord Texan. This is the perfect opportunity for you to connect with others in the housing industry and expand your knowledge. Registration is FREE to builders until July 7. Take a sneak peak at the schedule and register for the Show today! We can't wait to see you at the Gaylord Texan.
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  OUR NEW ONSITE APP HELPS YOU BUILD A BETTER HOUSE
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The Texas Legislature can take Texas' economy even higher
Forbes
The end of the 140-day, every two-year, legislative session of the 84th Texas Legislature is quickly approaching on June 1. While Texas has been the nation's jobs engine for years based on the successful Texas model, legislators may give it a tune-up by passing a conservative budget, historic tax relief, spending limit reform, and structural property tax reform. The latest Texas employment data for April provides evidence of the successful pro-growth policies, expanded foreign trade, and a diversified economy despite strong headwinds from the drop in oil prices and appreciated U.S. dollar.
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Residency requirement for statewide elected officials could change
The Texas Tribune
Statewide elected officials would no longer be required to live in Austin under a constitutional amendment that could be headed to voters on a general election ballot. The Texas House tentatively passed Senate Joint Resolution 52 by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels. The constitutional amendment would repeal a requirement in the Texas Constitution that mandates statewide elected officials, like the governor and attorney general, live in Austin — the state's capital.
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Senate votes to move investigation of state officials to Texas Rangers
The Dallas Morning News
Senate Republicans voted to move the state's Public Integrity Unit out of the Travis County district attorney's office. The action was spurred in part by last year's indictment of former Gov. Rick Perry. The legislation by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would move key decisions about investigating public officials to the Texas Rangers and away from the Travis County DA's office, controlled by Democrats. The bill was approved on a 20-11 vote, with Democrats casting all the no votes. It now returns to the House for consideration of amendments.
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Home prices continue to climb
The Wall Street Journal
Home prices continued their unremitting climb in March, according to a report, underscoring concerns of some economists over whether the strong price gains are sustainable. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, covering the entire nation, rose 4.1 percent in the 12 months ended in March, slightly weaker than a 4.2 percent increase in February. The 10-city and 20-city indexes saw similar year-over-year increases in March than in February. The 10-city index gained 4.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with 4.8 percent in February. The 20-city index gained 5 percent year-over-year, identical to the increase in February.
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Supreme Court will consider redefining 'one-person, one-vote' principle
USA Today
The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether state legislative districts must have roughly equal numbers of legal voters rather than overall populations. The case was filed by voters in Texas who claim their ballots carry less weight than those of voters whose state Senate districts include large numbers of illegal immigrants. While the Constitution is intended to protect the principle of one-person, one-vote, what remains unclear is whether districts must be apportioned based on the number of residents or the number of legal voters.
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An about-face for McMansions
The Wall Street Jounal
Is the McMansion back? Or is the first-quarter record high in the median size of newly built, single-family homes a statistical blip? Many economists are opting for the latter, given trends in the broader housing market, including construction of a greater number of smaller, affordable homes. The median size of a home built in the U.S. in the first quarter registered 2,521 square feet, up 76 square feet, or 3 percent, from the fourth quarter, according to Commerce Department data. It was the first increase for that measure after three consecutive quarters of decline.
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Prompt payment laws: Explaining your right to get paid fast
By Scott Wolfe
Many are engaged in a global debate about an apparent problem with capitalism. Specifically, that as business organizations get large and powerful, they use their leverage and influence unfairly. This debate is seen across many issues. Since the construction industry frequently sees big, well-funded organizations contracting with smaller, capital-needy companies, the industry is already extremely experienced in these issues.
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Contracting experiment drawing mixed reviews
The Texas Tribune
the state budget buckling under pressure, Texas lawmakers decided to let state agencies experiment with a new approach they hoped would be quicker and cheaper at building expensive, complex projects. The standard course for building roads, offices and such was to first take bids for a designer, then solicit bids for a builder after the design was complete. Under the new approach — called design-build — the two steps were joined. By hiring one or two companies to simultaneously design and build a project, chances to save time and money would theoretically emerge.
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Builders offer new-home designs in Sienna Plantation
Houston Chronicle
Builders have opened an array of new model homes in Sienna Plantation's Village of Sawmill Lake, showcasing the many new-home choices available in the 10,000-acre master-planned community. Toll Brothers is building in four of the village's nine neighborhoods: The Mountains, Fox Bend, Logan Pass and The Plaza, offering homes for 75-foot, 85-foot and 100-foot properties. Darling Homes also is building in Logan Pass and The Mountains, as well as Rosewood, a neighborhood of patio homes for 55-foot and 60-foot homesites.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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