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Home   About Us   Membership   Education   Events   Contact Us           February 17, 2015

 



America needs the Texas economy to keep on rolling
Forbes
In the last decade, Texas emerged as America's new land of opportunity — if you will, America's America. Since the start of the recession, the Lone Star State has been responsible for the majority of employment growth in the country. Between November 2007 and November 2014, the United States gained a net 2.1 million jobs, with 1.2 million alone in Texas. Yet with the recent steep drop in oil prices, the Texas economy faces extreme headwinds that could even spark something of a downturn.
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Abbott: Judge halts Obama's immigration order
WFAA-TV
Gov. Greg Abbott hailed a federal judge's decision to halt President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration — a decision that gave the state of Texas an initial victory in its battle against what state leaders call federal overreach. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Obama administration did not "comply with the Administrative Procedure Act" when the executive action was announced in November.
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4 legislative seats up for grabs in runoffs
The Texas Tribune
A round of Capitol musical chairs will play out when voters decide who will fill three seats in the Texas House of Representatives and one in the Senate. Two San Antonio-area seats are up for grabs — one in the Senate and one in the House — along with two Central Texas seats in the House. Special elections in January yielded clear leaders, but none secured the 50 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff, setting the stage for the mano-a-mano contests.
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Abbott expected to renew push for ethics reform
The Texas Tribune
Greg Abbott hasn't talked much about ethics reform since he got elected Texas governor, but the newly minted chief executive is expected to make a renewed push for it during his State of the State address. With former Gov. Rick Perry now gone from office and a new cast of characters in the Legislature, advocates for reform say Abbott has a rare chance to help spearhead improved disclosures and reduce conflicts of interest in the often opaque and ethically challenged corridors of the Texas Capitol.
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Texas legislators get pay raise through hike in daily expense payments
The Dallas Morning News
Texas legislators will receive a pay raise for the first time since 2009. The state Ethics Commission voted Friday to increase the amount that lawmakers are paid for daily expenses in Austin from $150 to $190. That adds up to a financial boost of at least $5,600 this year for each legislator — in money the Internal Revenue Service does not consider income. The change, which is retroactive to the start of this year, could cost taxpayers an additional $1 million annually.
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Texas' every 2-year Legislature isn't so 'part time'
The Associated Press via KXAN-TV
Texas is proud of its part-time Legislature, where many lawmakers make non-political livings and only pass laws on the side. That's why their annual pay is only $7,200 plus expenses, and sessions come just once every two years. But the 140-day session is so long that Texas often doesn't even rank in the top 10 nationally for least legislative days worked over two-year periods, a list that includes nine states where legislatures convene annually.
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US House panel approves permanent sales tax benefit
Houston Chronicle
A key U.S. House panel voted to make permanent the federal sales tax deduction that helps taxpayers in states like Texas that have no state income tax. The bipartisan measure, approved 22 to 14, was championed by U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, a top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.
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Lone Star State sales boom: Texas hits a real estate milestone rarely seen
CultureMap Houston
A surge of single-family home sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 ensured it was one of the best years ever for Texas real estate. According to a new report from the Texas Association of Realtors, home sales statewide in the final stretch of 2014 were up more than 8 percent compared to the same time period in 2013. That late-year boost — 66,664 total — pushed Texas home sales to their highest levels since 2006, which no one thought possible because of the relatively stagnant growth statewide (zero to 2 percent) in the first three quarters.
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KB Home eying residential development opportunities south of downtown
San Antonio Business Journal
KB Home has begun building new homes in the Southton Ranch subdivision in South San Antonio called The Reserve at Southton Ranch that, once completed, will add 128 new homes to this neighborhood. KB Home is developing homes in this subdivision to keep pace with the growth South San Antonio is experiencing as part of the ripple effect the oil-and-gas industry is having throughout the region. Southton Ranch already has 268 occupied homes. Southton Ranch is located along Interstate 37 between Loop 410 and Loop 1604.
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Houston home builder acquires large tract in Baytown for new community
Houston Business Journal
A Houston home builder bought a large tract of land in Baytown for a new residential community, spurring what could be a resurgence of residential development on the east side of town. CastleRock Communities acquired 106 acres at the northwest corner of Garth Road and Wallisville Road in the area just southeast of Houston. The tract is just north of the San Jacinto Mall and Interstate 10.
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With porches and parks, a Texas community aims for urban utopia
NPR
In Texas, a state where cars and private property are close to a religion, there is an acclaimed master-planned community that's trying something different. When Austin's municipal airport closed 16 years ago, it created a planner's dream: 700 acres of prime real estate close to the city core. What emerged from years of public/private/neighborhood collaboration was the Mueller Community — often spoken of as a masterwork of smart urban design.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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