TAB News Briefs
Feb. 5, 2013

Sunbelt Builders Show announces opening session speaker J.R. Martinez
The Sunbelt Builders Show™ is pleased to announce that J.R. Martinez will be the 2013 Sunbelt Opening Session Speaker on Monday, June 24 at 9:30 a.m. at the JW Marriott® San Antonio Hill Country Resort. J.R. Martinez, who was severely injured in Iraq before becoming ABC TV's Dancing with the Stars champion, will talk about his work with Operation FINALLY HOME, a charitable program providing new homes for injured veterans.More

Dan Patrick unveils plan to promote career and technical education in Texas schools
Texas Observer
Texas high school students would be able to customize their paths to graduation, with more room for career and technical courses, under a much-anticipated plan unveiled by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Elaborating on reform plans he announced in December, Patrick detailed at a Capitol press conference how he would reorganize Texas' high school graduation tracks to embrace career preparation. Patrick, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he'd file his plan as Senate Bill 3.More

Texas lawmakers move to make up $5 billion budget deficit
Austin American-Statesman
Texas lawmakers took the first steps toward closing a $5 billion budget deficit they created in 2011 by under-funding Medicaid, the health program for the poor and disabled. Republican Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, warned members of the House Appropriations Committee that balancing the budget was required by the Texas Constitution. "It is simply a matter of paying our bills that the law of the state requires us to pay," Pitts said.More

NAHB competition winners design home for wounded war veteran
Four teams came together to take on one assignment: Design a home that would best meet the needs of a wounded hero. The National Association of Home Builders Design Committee announced the winning team of its first-ever live design competition held during the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. The competition focused on designing a home for Laura Sellinger, a U.S. Air Force veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq.More

Houston remodeler selected as 2013 NAHB Remodelers Chairman
Bill Shaw, GMR, GMB, CGP, owner of William Shaw & Associates in Houston, was appointed as the 2013 chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers this month during the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. As chairman of the leading professional organization for residential remodeling, Shaw represents the more than 24,000 remodeling industry members of NAHB.More

Updated: School finance ruling favors districts
The Texas Tribune
In a decision certain to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, state district Judge John Dietz ruled in favor of more than 600 school districts on all of their major claims against the state's school finance system. With a swift ruling issued from the bench shortly after the state finished its closing arguments, Dietz said that the state does not adequately or efficiently fund public schools — and that it has created an unconstitutional de-facto property tax in shifting the burden of paying for them to the local level.More

Lawmakers to hear testimony on water plan
The Associated Press via Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
The Texas House and Senate Natural Resources Committees will be holding a joint hearing on the ongoing drought and the status of the state water plan. Lawmakers are expected to hear expert testimony about the drought status and what to expect in the months to come. They will also review the state water plan, which says the state needs to spend $53 billion over the next 50 years to meet the state's water needs.More

Opponents weigh options after border coal mine approved
The Texas Tribune
With a plan for an open pit coal mine on the Texas-Mexico border one step closer to being in operation, opponents looking to block the mine are left hoping to win a possible court injunction or an unlikely reversal by the Texas Railroad Commission. The three-member commission voted 2-1 last week to approve a permit modification request submitted by Dos Republicas, which seeks to mine about 6,300 acres in Eagle Pass.More

Construction jobs are difficult to fill
Construction has been a major driver of hiring in recent months, but now builders are having trouble finding the workers they need. The January jobs report showed that construction added 28,000 jobs in January, about 18 percent of the the jobs created overall. It's the fourth straight month of strong construction job gains as home building has rebounded. Low mortgage rates, rising home prices and low inventories of new homes for sale are expected to continue to boost the housing recovery through 2013.More

El Paso County will block Socorro annexation plan
El Paso Times
El Paso County Commissioners Court gave the green light to the county attorney to fight Socorro's annexation plan, which includes part of San Elizario. Unless Socorro voluntarily decides to put the brakes on the annexation plan, the county attorney intends to file a quo warranto, a legal proceeding to stop the city's proposed annexation.More

Comptroller's office offers vital resource for business owners looking for answers to their state tax questions
Window on State Government
During the month of February, the Comptroller's office will conduct four free taxpayer seminars across the state. At these seminars, taxpayers can learn how to properly fill out tax forms, and file and pay taxes electronically. Information about e-services will also be available to help taxpayers manage their accounts online. Comptroller representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide assistance to attendees.More

D.R. Horton considers building more upscale homes
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
An improving housing market has Fort Worth-based home builder D.R. Horton considering a "higher-end business line," the company's CEO said. Donald Tomnitz briefly mentioned the new concept during an earnings call with analysts but offered no details regarding when and where the business would begin building, or what size and price of homes. He said the company would "roll out in different U.S. markets."More

Jobs still lag, but home building may soon help
Here in the depths of winter, U.S. economic numbers aren't looking so hot. This week, new reports showed growth started to freeze up last fall, and the unemployment rate rose a bit in January, to 7.9 percent. But most economists say you shouldn't let those cold facts fool you: This spring's data could look much brighter if the housing market continues to heat up.More

Winners of 2013 NAHB Residential Construction Management Competition announced
John Courson, president and CEO of HBI, gathered with other building industry leaders to announce the winners of 2013 NAHB Residential Construction Management Competition during an awards ceremony at the 2013 NAHB International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. More than 50 teams representing universities, community colleges, high schools and career technical schools across the U.S. participated. During the competition, students solve real-life construction management problems and present their solutions to a judging panel of residential construction industry experts.More

Introducing the 2013 NAHB Chairman of the Board
Association Maximization
With every new year comes a changing of leadership within our Federation. The national level of leadership is no different. As this year begins so does the leadership of Rick Judson, a Charlotte, North Carolina based home builder. Rick has over 35 years of experience in the building industry and is welcoming the opportunity to give back to his industry as he becomes the 2013 Chairman of the Board of the more than 140,000 member National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).More