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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Oct. 23, 2012

TAB News Briefs
Oct. 23, 2012
TAB Quick Links >    Home     Education     Legislative     Publications     Calendar     Sunbelt Builders Show     Resources

Will housing 'misery' swing the election?
Market Watch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Investors and homeowners got mixed messages about the nation's housing market with the National Association of Realtors reporting that existing-home sales in September were down 1.7 percent from August's levels, while the median existing-home price was up 11.3 percent from the year-earlier level. That good-news-bad-news report increases the odds that the nation's housing struggles could be a major theme in the home stretch of the presidential campaign—especially since several swing states that could play a crucial role in the election have particularly weak property markets. More

Texas windstorm insurance hearing postponed
Corpus Christi Caller-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Officials canceled a hearing of the Joint Committee on Windstorm Oversight scheduled out of respect for a longtime state lawmaker who died. The meeting conflicted with memorial services planned in Austin for the late Mario Gallegos Jr., of Houston. Gallegos served in the state House from 1991 through 1995, when he joined the Senate, where he remained. The hearing is rescheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 1 at the Capitol. More

Study: Informal contracts still put many Texas homeowners at risk
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Years after state reforms were passed to limit the practice, University of Texas researchers have found that Texas families continue to buy land and homes using informal transactions called "contracts for deed," often paying interest rates as high as 20 percent. And though the total number of recorded contracts for deed — more than 16,000 over the past 20 years, according to the study — has dropped by two-thirds, most of the estimated still-active contracts, about 5,500, are in Maverick, Webb, Travis and Bastrop counties. More

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Prolific GOP donor Bob Perry tops contributors to legislative, judicial candidates
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When it comes to fundraising for legislative and judicial races, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry is still king of the Republican hill. Perry and his wife, Doylene, gave $619,000 to state candidates in the latest reporting period, which covers roughly the year's third quarter, according to campaign finance reports. (Registration required to view.) More

Texas Attorney General formally files redistricting appeal
The Associated Press via Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has formally filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for the state's Republican-drawn voting maps to be approved. The state's appeal had been expected since a lower federal court in August threw out the maps passed by the Texas Legislature last year. A three-judge panel in Washington ruled that those maps violated the Voting Rights Act and discriminated against minorities. More

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New publication sheds light on agricultural water use in Texas
AgriLife Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts recently released a report, Status and Trends of Irrigated Agriculture in Texas, highlighting the current status of irrigation in Texas. "Irrigation is critical to our food production and food security and is a vital component of Texas' productive agricultural economy," said Dr. Kevin Wagner, associate director of the Texas Water Resources Institute and lead author of the special report. More

Texas high court rejects challenge to franchise tax
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Supreme Court of Texas struck down a challenge by Nestle Inc. and two other businesses targeting the state's franchise tax. Lawyers for Nestle and two Texas-based companies, Switchplace LLC and NSMBA, sued the state this year and argued that the tax violated the Texas Constitution's statement that taxes must be "equal and uniform." More

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Editorial: Time to start early voting in the Nov. 6 election
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced that a record 13,646,226 Texans are registered to vote in the Nov. 6 election. That figure is up by more than 71,000 from the previous record, just before the November 2008 general election. For the presidential race four years ago, almost 60 percent of those who were registered turned out to vote. The total in that race was 8,077,795 votes, according to figures from Andrade's office. More

LCRA's proposal to help rice farmers faces pushback
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
AudioBriefThe Lower Colorado River Authority, the powerful utility that controls the water in the Highland Lakes, has come under fire from Central Texans for a proposal to send water downstream to rice farmers, who were cut off earlier this year due to drought conditions. More

Gov. Perry's remarks at the Houston Realty Business Coalition monthly breakfast
The Vindicator    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Through the first eight months of 2012, Texas led the nation in residential construction, with more building permits issued than the next two states, Florida and California, combined. We have seen aggressive growth in the housing markets, and significant increases in median sales prices, more than a 7 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012." More

Collapse of housing market weighs on Nevada, but it hardly comes up in presidential race
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase recently declared that the U.S. housing market had "turned the corner." But many homeowners are in the same spot as blackjack dealer Carolyn Banks — saddled with a house worth much less than they owe. (Registration required to view.) More

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Austin's jobless rate drops to 5.3 percent in September
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A surge in education and health care hiring helped boost Austin's employment rolls in September and pushed the local jobless rate down to its lowest point in almost four years. The metro area's unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in September, down from 5.9 percent in August and 7.0 percent in September of last year, according to data released by the Texas Workforce Commission. More

Putting a price tag on where endangered species live
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What is the economic cost for protecting a threatened or endangered species? For the first time, the federal government will provide an answer at the same time it designates the territory considered essential for the recovery of a plant or animal on the brink of extinction. More

Master Brick announces the addition of MB2 BioClay!

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Isaac appointed to interim manufacturing committee
San Marcos Mercury    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus named State Rep. Jason Isaac, a Dripping Springs Republican, to a newly created interim committee charged with making recommendations on how to encourage manufacturing in Texas. "Manufacturing jobs are among the best our state has to offer, and this Committee will give the House important guidance on how to spur growth and encourage manufacturers to put more Texans to work," Straus said in a statement announcing the appointments. More

Lumber mills trail rebound in US as beetles bite
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
North American lumber mills are operating at the fastest pace in four years as U.S. home building rebounds, just as the worst beetle infestation on record curbs supply. About 52.5 billion board feet, the standard industry measure, will be sawed this year, 5.4 percent more than in 2011 and the most since 2008, CIBC World Markets estimates. Housing is gaining traction amid an infestation of mountain-pine beetles that the Canadian officials said was the worst ever. More

ODL Offers Impact-Rated Doorglass
ODL Severe Weather® Doorglass is certified for use in a range of entrance systems to meet Texas wind-borne requirements and provides safety and security while maximizing natural light. ODL offers a wide variety of impact-rated Doorglass including: Decorative Doorglass, Light-Touch® Enclosed Blinds, Grilles Between Glass, and Privacy and Clear Glass.

Can Texas drivers handle an 85-mph speed limit?
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new 40-mile stretch of Texas 130 toll road bypassing Austin's east side will open with an 85-mph speed limit — highest in the United States. "I think people will routinely pass me going 100. Regardless of the speed limit, there's always going to be people who want to go past it," said Jeff Gibeaux, a civil engineer in Lockhart who plans to take the high-speed road to Austin on occasion. More

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Williamson County uses all its time drafting comments to fight listing of salamanders as endangered
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Hours before the deadline, Williamson County officials submitted about $365,000 worth of studies to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service arguing that four Central Texas salamanders should not be added to the endangered species list. On the final day in a 60-day public comment period, officials said part of the delay was a push for feedback in the peer review process, which shows other experts have read and reviewed the data. More

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Bridgeland earns 2012 PRISM award
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For the second time in three years, Bridgeland has won the Developer of the Year Grand Award in the Houston's Best PRISM Awards given by the Greater Houston Builders Association. The development, a project of The Howard Hughes Corp., also won awards for its landscape design, welcome center and interactive point-of-sale experience, and was a finalist in numerous other categories. More

Scott Felder Homes to build in Texas Hill Country community
PR Newswire via The Sacramento Bee    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
SouthStar Communities, a residential real estate development company and owner of the master-planned community Havenwood at Hunters Crossing, has announced a strategic relationship with award-winning home builder Scott Felder Homes. The ranch-style, single-story model home, which will be built according to the company's Montana floor plan, has been awarded the Star Award for Best Product Design by the Texas Association of Builders. More
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