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June 9, 2009
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Texas Comptroller Certifies $182 Billion Spending Plan
from The Dallas Morning News
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs certified the state's two-year, $182 billion budget Monday, saying there is enough revenue to support it. Lawmakers approved the budget covering the 2010-11 spending cycle before adjourning their session June 1. Republican Gov. Rick Perry has yet to weigh in on what parts of the budget he agrees or disagrees with. More


Bill Would Limit Cities' Rules on Fire Sprinklers
from The Austin American-Statesman
A late-session provision that would prohibit municipalities from requiring sprinkler systems in some residences has left Gov. Rick Perry stuck between a brigade of Texas fire chiefs and the campaign dollars of local homebuilders. Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, tacked the amendment on to a plumber licensing bill during the waning days of the session. If Perry signs it, the measure would stop municipalities from requiring sprinkler systems in single- and two-family homes after Jan. 1, 2009, meaning the bill would nullify any ordinances passed this year. Otto originally tried to pass a similar stand-alone bill in early May, but the House never gave it a vote. More

Construction Spending Rose in April
from The Austin Business Journal
U.S. construction spending in April totaled $969 billion, which was up 0.8 percent from March, reported Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, in his Data DIGest for last week. However, that total was down 11 percent compared with April 2008. More

GOP Primary for Governor May Become Costliest in State History
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The theatrics of the 81st Texas Legislature may be over, but Texans are now gearing up for the state’s next feature attraction - a roiling political season topped by a marquee race for governor. The unfolding Republican primary race between Gov. Rick Perry and his challenger, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, is expected to become the costliest - if not the most vitriolic - primary battle in state history. More

DFW Pre-Owned Home Sales Fall 24 Percent
from The Dallas Morning News
North Texas pre-owned home sales dived by almost a quarter in May compared to a year earlier. But even with the big decline, median prices were down only a fraction, according to statistics. Through the first five months of 2009, pre-owned, single-family home sales in North Texas have fallen by 24 percent from the same period of last year, and condo sales are off 33 percent. More

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Straus Already Seeking Second Term as House Speaker
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
With his first session as House speaker behind him, Republican Joe Straus wants another one. He's filed the necessary paperwork and started lobbying fellow members for their support. Now even those in his own party who were wary of his sudden rise to power say Straus just might get what he wants. More

Work at Governor's Mansion Moves Forward
from The Brownsville Herald
A year after an arson fire gutted the 153-year-old Texas Governor's Mansion, investigators have no suspects, but the state does have nearly $26 million for restoration from private donations and the Legislature. "We're ready to go," Dealey Herndon, the State Preservation Board's project manager for the restoration, told the Austin American-Statesman. Herndon also oversaw the restoration of the capitol more than a decade ago. More

Study: More Than 30 Percent of DFW Home Sellers Have to Cut Prices
from The Dallas Morning News
More than 30 percent of Dallas-area home sellers have to cut their price at least once, according to a new study. Dallas had one of the highest home-price reduction levels in the country, the report by Internet real estate firm Trulia Inc. said. And almost 40 percent of sellers of higher priced homes here – those offered for $1 million and more – have been forced to trim their asking price, the research shows. More

Survey: Hiring Slowly Improving in Manufacturing, Service Sectors
from The Houston Business Journal
Employment expectations are at four-year lows for June in both the manufacturing and service sectors, but hiring has slowly improved compared to the past couple of months, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Those two sectors employ more than 90 percent of the nation’s private-sector workers. More

Project Quest Could Double
from The San Antonio Express-News
The number of participants in the Project Quest job training program could double under legislation now in the hands of Gov. Rick Perry. The legislation would establish a $25 million Jobs and Education for Texans grant program and a $10 million green jobs grant program in the state comptroller’s office, both financed through a rider attached to the state budget. More

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