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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Aug. 17, 2010

Conflicting outlooks on state budget
The Austin American-Statesman    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs offered a sunny assessment of the state's financial condition when the bond rating agencies gave Texas top marks. "I am pleased with the very high ratings Texas has received, a clear reflection of our economic performance compared to other states," Combs said in a statement. But a darker picture emerges from the numbers buried deep in the financial documents — and the rating agencies' own analysis — released as part of the state's $7.8 billion short-term debt issuance. More

EPA must revise storm water rules
National Association of Home Builders    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a major victory for affordable housing, sound science and more sensible regulations for builders and developers, EPA has been forced to withdraw a key portion of new storm water management regulations for the construction industry and devise new ones based on better research. More

Home mortgage closing costs on the rise
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share
on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Consumers who plan to take advantage of record-low home loan interest rates may find themselves paying more at the closing table. Home mortgage closing costs are up dramatically this year. And Texas has the second-highest average home financing fees in the nation, according to a new survey by Only New York state has higher average home loan closing costs than Texas, the consumer finance information company said in a recent report. More

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Legislative battle on horizon for future of Fannie and Freddie
MarketWatch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Now that the most sweeping financial reform bill since the Depression is law, Washington is finally getting around to dealing with the hard part: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But even as the Obama administration prepares for an Aug. 17 conference on the U.S. housing finance system, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing to battle each other and the powerful housing lobby over the future of the mortgage-finance giants. More

DeLay says he's ready to fight state ethics charges
The Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay put the 5-year-old federal investigation into his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff behind him and turned his attention to an impending trial on Texas ethics issues. DeLay said federal prosecutors told his attorneys last week that he had been "cleared" of any criminal violations in their investigation of Abramoff. More

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Garland lawmaker admits double-billing on expenses
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Republican state representative from Garland who frequently rails against the evils of runaway government spending admitted Monday that he has pocketed thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for travel expenses that his campaign had already paid for. State Rep. Joe Driver, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has submitted the same receipts — for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals — to both his campaign and to the Texas House. More

Texas House is now really in play
The Austin American-Statesman First Reading Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
While the split between 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats in the Texas House is close enough that there has always been a legitimate battle for partisan control in 2010, most objective observers have long said Republicans are likely to keep a House majority heading into next year. Well, this thing just got more interesting. More

Undercount could cost El Paso House seat
El Paso Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The county is in danger of losing one of its state representative seats because of possible inaccuracies with the ongoing U.S. Census population count, several elected officials told a Texas House of Representatives committee. The committee came to El Paso to talk about redistricting. More

Budget shortfall could mean 7,300 layoffs for Texas prisons
The Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than 7,300 criminal justice employees would have to be laid off if Texas' corrections agency is required to cut its spending by 15 percent, officials said Monday, warning that such a move could force the closure of several prisons and endanger public safety. The prediction came as state corrections officials made public their budget request for 2012-13. More

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Texas Supreme Court rejects Sharon Keller's appeal
The Houston Chronicle Texas Politics Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Supreme Court has rejected Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller's efforts to overturn the "public warning" she received last month from the state's judicial watchdog agency. More

Fishermen battle the Gulf's oil-stained image
The Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The grouper hits the dock with a "thwap" and a splatter of slime. Its eyes bulge from its head like giant marbles. Whatever those eyes may have seen when the 50-pound fish was alive, it wasn't oil. Mark Friudenberg wants to make that clear. "Not to take what's happened in the northern Gulf lightly, but the Texas Gulf is unaffected," said Friudenberg, who owns Captain Mark's Seafood Market just up the street from this dock where a crew is unloading grouper and red snapper from the Delphin II. More

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