El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

Posts Tagged ‘budget

NPT Capitol: state budget passes the House 142-2

The state budget just passed the House as amended by the Senate.

According to the Speaker’s office, it includes a $1.9bn increase in public education funding, $1.2bn increase in Higher Education funding, $264m to boost HE financial aid and an increase in $208m for community service operations benefiting “our most vulnerable disabled populations.”

It also includes $2bn in new bonds for more highways and around $12bn in federal stimulus funds.

A few El Paso specific items after the jump

–Ben Wright Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm

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NPT Capitol: Straus happy with the budget

StrausA press release from House Speaker Joe Straus. The Texas House passed their version of the budget 149-0 early Saturday Morning.

Texas House Adopts 2010-2011 State Budget
House Trims $4 Billion Off Senate Budget

Austin— Today Texas House Speaker Joe Straus praised the House of Representatives for adopting the state’s 2010-2011 biennial budget.

“I appreciate the outstanding work of Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, Vice Chair Richard Raymond, and all Members of the House of Representatives for passing a sound budget which is fiscally responsible and funds essential government services,” stated Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. “I am proud of the entire House for working together to produce a balanced budget, control state expenditures, and make wise spending decisions. Today’s approved budget makes prudent investments in critical areas and includes funding increases in education and health care.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 18, 2009 at 9:41 am

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NPT Capitol: Moody and Marquez budget amendments fail

marquezEl Paso freshman state Reps Marisa Marquez and Joe Moody, both failed to amend the budget Friday afternoon. The two lawmakers, in back-to-back amendments, were both blocked for the same reason – their amendments created general law, which under House rules, (R. 8, Sec. 4) cant be done by an appropriations bill.

moody1Moody’s amendment concerned what he called “pay to politics” and would have prohibited funds from the Texas Enterprise and Emergency Technology funds being awarded to companies if any of their officers or directors had in the previous two years, “made a political contribution to the governor, lieutenant governor or speaker of the House in the preceding two years.”

Marquez’s amendment, in light of the AIG bonus scandal would have prohibited funds going from TEF and ETF sources to companies that had laid off 25 workers or more in the previous year, but had also given bonuses to executives worth more than 1% of their base salary.

–Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm

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NPT Capitol: Senate passes its version of the budget, Shapleigh votes no

The Texas Senate passed its version of the state budget, Wednesday. SB 1 passed 26 votes to 5, with El Paso state Senator Eliot Shapleigh voting against.

SB 1, authored by Senator Steve Ogden, R-Bryan uses over $10bn of federal stimulus aid while leaving the state’s rainy day fund untapped (at round $9bn).

Shapleigh, along with Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, raised concerns at the very start of the debate Wednesday afternoon about the legality of using stimulus funds when Texas has the money to plug its own budgetary holes using the rainy day fund. (The Economic stimulus package, HR1, has provisions which prohibit the use of stimulus money if it simply substitutes for cash a state was going to dole out anyway, providing ways for the feds to recover the money.)

Ogden cautioned that Texas’ economic circumstances “could get worse before they get better.” Hence it was prudent to use stimulus money now and keep rainy days funds in the tank for an even rainier day. Otherwise Texas would “really be in the tank” if things continued to slide. (There are rumors circulating in Austin that state comptroller Susan Combs will lower her revenue estimate for the biennium. i.e. work out that Texas has less moolah than she first thought.)

The state budgetary process now awaits the House’s version of the bill. Then the two chambers will appoint a conference committee to hash out the differences before sending it back to their respective chambers and then on to the Governor.

Check out NPT for Shapleigh’s reasons for voting against the Senate version of the budget.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm