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Forward--How Texas Spends Its Money, How Texas Gets Its Money, and Why It Doesn't Add Up

by: Center for Public Policy Priorities

Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 02:04 PM CST

(Important update from CPPP about our state's crisis in revenue and the impact on our state budget.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

This week, we at the Center for Public Policy Priorities released our updated and redesigned Budget & Revenue primer, which outlines the current budget process and why Texas is short of the money it needs. While the full primer is more evergreen and educational in nature, we've also put together two additional fact sheets with updated information on the 2013 Texas Legislature's budget numbers.

You can read the primer, as well as a list of state budget do's and don't's & the fact sheet on this session's budget outlook, on our website.

Here's a sampling from the introduction:

"With one in 11 children in the United States calling Texas home, our state has a big role to play in the future of America. To ensure that our large and rapidly growing child population is prepared to meet tomorrow's challenges, we must invest in education. We need strong early childhood education, strong public schools, and strong colleges and universities to ensure a prosperous future.

Preparing for the future requires the political will to reform our antiquated revenue system now. To move forward, we must have a revenue system that is fair and adequate. Our revenue system, though, has always been unfair and is increasingly inadequate."

Learn more on our website.  

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Hearings on the Horizon Foretell 2013 Battle Lines at State Legislature: Vouchers, Budget, Revenue

by: Jamie Sanderson

Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:16 PM CDT

With primary elections and runoffs now over and a new session of the Texas legislature just five months away, a spate of hearings has shown up on the calendar at the state capitol in Austin.  A glance at the topics to be covered will give you a preview of many of the major debates we can expect in 2013:

Senate Education Committee, August 24:  Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston, will chair this interim hearing on performance, accountability, and expansion of charter schools; also on the agenda:  private-school vouchers and other variations on the theme of "school choice," with special attention to possible funding of vouchers via tax credits and "taxpayer savings grants."

Senate Finance Committee, August 29:  This hearing, chaired by Republican Steve Ogden of Bryan, will focus largely on current spending limits in state law and possible new measures to "continue restraint of spending growth below the rate of inflation plus population growth." Also on the agenda: equity of taxation among industries.

Legislative Budget Board, August 30:  The staff of the Legislative Budget Board will hear agency and public testimony on the 2014-2015 budget request of the Teacher Retirement System, including pension and health-care funding for school retirees.

House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee, September 12: This hearing, chaired by Rep. Vicki Truitt, Republican of Southlake, will consider measures "aimed at curbing rising pension costs to local governments" and also will look at studies due by September 1 from the state Employees Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System of Texas concerning "the viability of the current defined benefit plans as well as the implications and feasibility of creating a defined contribution or hybrid plan."

Senate Higher Education Committee, September 12:  This panel, chaired by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Democrat of Laredo, will address "more cost-effective" college financial aid and "the efficacy of current exemptions and waivers offered to students," including in-state tuition for undocumented students. Also covered will be the implementation of existing law on "success-based funding" for colleges and universities.

Senate Education Committee, September 13:  Democrat Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio will chair the first part of this hearing, on virtual schools in Texas-"the growing demand for virtual schools in Texas," plus "the benefits of virtual schools, related successes in other states, and needed changes to remove barriers to virtual schools." The second part of the hearing, with Democrat Royce West of Dallas presiding, will study the impact of extended learning time on school success, including "the effect of after-school programs on academic performance, school attendance, behavior, and promotion to the next grade level, and the relationship between the availability of after-school programs in an area and the high school dropout rate."

Legislative Budget Board, September 24:  The staff of the Legislative Budget Board will hear testimony from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding its budget request for 2014-2015, as well as from public witnesses concerned with THECB programs. The LBB staff also will take testimony on the budgets for public community and junior colleges.

Source: Texas AFT

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