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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources March 31, 2011
Texas House begins budget battle
Austin American-Statesman    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas House members will begin slogging through three critical budget-related bills today that reflect the deep cuts Republican leaders say are needed to balance the books without raising taxes. The main event begins Friday, when House Bill 1, the two-year budget bill for 2012-13, lands on the floor. Debate could extend into Saturday as the members grapple with as many as 371 proposed amendments to the $164.5 billion budget proposal. More

Idea of private health care for inmates meets skepticism
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A day after it was revealed that top aides to Gov. Rick Perry are quietly exploring a plan to hire private contractors to take over parts or all of Texas' cash-strapped health care system for convicted felons, legislative leaders gave an initial cold shoulder to the idea. Their concern: There's no proof such a plan would save money, and time is too short to adequately explore such an extensive overhaul of a complicated and costly system. More

Bill to tap Rainy Day Fund before Texas House
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The political will to tap the state's Rainy Day Fund is about to be put to its first test in the Texas House. Two budget bills, including one to use $3.2 billion from the reserve fund to deal with a deficit, were to go before the Texas House on Thursday. More

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Legislature proposes state commission on tax breaks
San Antonio Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Some tax breaks could expire if a proposed commission deems them no longer necessary. Much like the sunset review process that state agencies must go through every 12 years to determine whether their functions should be continued, Senate Bill 1051 proposes putting tax breaks, special treatments and refunds in the Tax Code under the same periodic scrutiny. More

High oil prices good for Texas budget
The Associated Press via Bloomberg Businessweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Higher oil prices may make consumers miserable, but unrest in the Middle East could mean billions of dollars in tax revenue for Texas' tight budget. The money is coming from Texas oil producers who have increased their rig counts to take advantage of prices that spiked in mid-February, when fighting in Libya squeezed off shipments that had supplied nearly 2 percent of the world's oil. More

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Texas Republicans take harder line on immigration
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In Texas, the Republican Party is changing its tactics on illegal immigration. The relatively welcoming, tolerant attitude embraced by George W. Bush when he was governor is waning. It has been overtaken by a flood of Arizona-style get-tough measures, with nearly 100 immigration bills written or filed. And while legal challenges will surely follow if many of those measures pass, the debate in Texas is clearly shifting. More

Peña's guest-worker bill draws praise, criticism
Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Proposed legislation that would establish a state-run guest-worker program would legally satisfy the state's appetite for cheap labor but not grant amnesty to people already in Texas illegally, according to the bill's author. More

Solving the green building policy puzzle
GreenBiz Greener Buildings Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Welcome to another extremely busy season for state legislative activity. If you haven't started paying attention, the action in most states is in high gear, as most state legislatures meet in the first quarter of the year. Some states are even finishing their 2011 sessions and are already closing their doors until next time around. More

Contractors get hung up on rising gas prices
ACHR News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gas prices across the nation have been on a steep upward trend, and the end of price hikes is not yet in sight. From mid-February to the first week in March, national average gas prices rose $0.33. By the middle of March, AAA reported that the national average price for a gallon of regular gas was approximately $3.553 and diesel was $3.93. At the beginning of February, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.122 and diesel was $3.516. Last year's national average prices in March were $2.747 for regular gas and $3.48 for diesel. More
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