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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Dec. 20, 2011

Texas delays primaries until April
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a move that could end up hurting Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, a federal court signed an agreement Friday to move Texas' upcoming primary elections from March 6 to April 3. The delay, necessitated by the court fight over the Legislature's redistricting maps, means Texas no longer will participate in Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold nominating primaries or caucuses. Perry, trailing badly in the polls, needs a quick boost to make his presidential candidacy relevant again, and keeping the primary on its original date might have helped reinvigorate the campaign with support in his home state, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. More

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Freddie: Low mortgage rates to hang around next year
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mortgage rates are expected to remain very low at least through mid-2012, while housing activity improves slightly, according to Freddie Mac's recent economic and housing outlook. The outlook also projects fewer single-family home-loan originations but more multifamily lending in 2012. The rental market is likely to lead growth in the lending industry, though parts of the country will also benefit from increased activity in the single-family home market. More

Texans surprise Marine's widow and son with a new house
Yahoo Sports Shutdown Corner Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Marine Scott Wood died four weeks ago after suffering injuries during combat in Iraq. Before his burial, his wife dressed him in two uniforms. On the outside, Scott wore his military dress blues. Underneath, he wore the blue No. 80 jersey of Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. Sara Wood had been married to Scott for eight years. They have a 5-year-old son together named Landon. Now he and Sara live in a single room in her parent's house. But not for long. More

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Texas dominates best-performing cities index
San Antonio Express-News via RECON    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Milken Institute just released its "Best-Performing Cities" index for 2011, and Texas is everywhere you look. Nine Texas MSAs landed in the top 25 on the institute's list of 200 largest metros, and four of those ranked in the top five, including number one San Antonio. Others on the list were El Paso (2), Austin–Round Rock (4), Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood (5), Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (16), McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (18), Dallas-Plano-Irving (20), Fort Worth-Arlington (24) and Lubbock (25). More

Behind the numbers: Builder confidence rises — again
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Optimism has been in short supply for quite a while now in the battered home building industry. But a report Monday from the National Association of Home Builders brings evidence of a positive trend — or maybe just a less-than-gloomy one. The builders' trade group said its housing market index rose for the third straight month, increasing to a reading of 21 from a downwardly revised 19 in November. The index reached its highest point since May 2010. More

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Texas cities won the recession, and they're winning the recovery
The Atlantic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Welcome to the third phase of the Great Recession. Phase One was the housing collapse, felt most heavily in those cities along the Sun Belt that rode the real estate wave in the 2000s. Phase Two was the stimulus recovery. Cities with large government presences saw slow but steady growth when federal dollars flowed through state governments. As a result, state capitals and military centers saw the most dependable growth. More

Ten in GOP to vie for Hutchison's Senate seat
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With former Democratic hopeful Ricardo Sanchez out of the U.S. Senate race, former House Public Education Committee Chairman Paul Sadler and Houston lawyer Jason Gibson announced that they would make a bid to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Sadler, 56, who currently heads The Wind Coalition, whose website says it is dedicated to developing wind energy, was a leading legislative voice on public education and school funding issues during the 1990s and was recognized by Texas Monthly as one of the state's top lawmakers. Gibson is president of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association. More

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Building codes to tighten across Texas
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The international symbol for Texas' energy-guzzling habit is a monster pickup truck — pulling another pickup truck. But homes and other buildings are also big offenders, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the state's overall energy use. The opportunity for savings — and to draw down some energy-related federal stimulus dollars — has spurred action by state and local officials. More

Economy: North Dakota thrives as Nevada suffers in divergent US recovery
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. economic expansion that began in June 2009 shows a dichotomy at the state level, with Nevada, California and Florida labor markets still languishing from the real estate collapse at the same time domestic energy production drives employment in North Dakota and Alaska. By the first quarter of 2012, oil and gas-rich Texas will gain back all of the jobs it lost during the last recession, the third state to do so after North Dakota and Alaska, according to a forecast released today by IHS Global Insight Inc. More

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Economic panel sought: New regional development group approved
El Paso Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
El Paso City Council set in motion the process of establishing a regional economic development organization and strategy as recommended in a report released last week by a city-hired economic development expert. City Manager Joyce Wilson also said she's already begun the process of adopting all of the report's recommendations pertaining to City Hall's economic development activities. More

Green retrofitting surpasses new green construction for first time
Insurance Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Green retrofitting of commercial buildings is outpacing the construction of new green buildings, according to a new report. The trend could mean that more building owners may believe that bringing their buildings up to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification may not only be cost efficient, but the environmentally conscious thing to do. More

Texas may have lost 10 percent of its trees
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The current Texas drought has killed as many as 500 million trees 10 percent of the state's forest cover and the end is not in sight, according to the Texas Forest Service. Some of the hardest-hit areas are in Central Texas. The numbers are preliminary, the first results from an unprecedented statewide survey of tree mortality across 63 million acres of forest land this year. More
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