Opinion

Wed
25
Feb

Governor gives lawmakers his state budget priorities

by Ed Sterling

On Feb. 17, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his first State of the State address during a joint session of the Texas House and Senate and released his recommendations for the two-year 2016-2017 state budget. In his 43-page Governor’s Budget document, Abbott said he aims to: “Constrain the size and growth of government. Reduce agency spending. Suspend, reduce, and eliminate unnecessary taxes and fees. Ensure government supports job creation and is accountable and transparent.”

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Wed
18
Feb

Abbott joins other governors in urging against veto

 Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 12 announced he had joined a coalition of 24 governors in signing and sending a letter to President Obama that urges the nation’s chief executive “to reconsider his threat” to veto legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Wed
11
Feb

Accidental history lessons at ‘Washington on the Brazos’

Sometimes, I wonder how Texas history will survive in the future. When you think about today’s world of “smart phones” and computers, the dusty days of the Texas War for Independence seems like another planet. The amazing story of how Texas was born is famous around the world. Yet, too often, the “Story of Texas” is tucked inside a history book… or sprinkled along the roadside with historical markers that we drive by on our way to somewhere else.

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Wed
11
Feb

Senate panel hears testimony on funding needs

by Ed Sterling

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee began groundwork for its budget-writing duties with public hearings on four consecutive days. Led by Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Grapevine, the 15-member panel heard testimony from the offices of the governor, comptroller and attorney general. Input also was received on state pension funds, courts and payments on state debt. Currently, the budget is an estimated $4.5 billion for all of those “general government” functions and an increase of $200 million has been proposed for 2016-2017.

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Wed
04
Feb

Budget-writing process begins in Senate committee

by Ed Sterling

On Jan. 28, the main work of the Texas Legislature started when the state budget-writing Senate Finance Committee met at the capitol. Financial figures for the committee to use as a guide come from the 10-member Legislative Budget Board, a permanent joint committee of the House and Senate that develops budget and policy recommendations for appropriations, completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation and conducts evaluations and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations.

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Wed
28
Jan

Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick take office

by Ed Sterling

January 20 was inauguration day for Gov. Greg Abbott, successor to Rick Perry, who completed a recordsetting 14 years as governor. Abbott is the 48th governor of Texas. Abbott expressed gratitude to the people who elected him and promised to “promote policies that limit the growth of government, not the size of your dreams.” “Texas truly is the land of opportunity, the place where anyone can achieve anything,” Abbott said. “But as great as Texas is there’s more we must do: More for the families stuck in traffic. More for parched towns thirsty for water. More for parents who fear their child is falling behind in school. More for employers searching for skilled workers. More for our veterans who return broken from battle.”

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Wed
21
Jan

What do people learn at professional conventions?

by Willis Webb
 
“There are all kinds of conventions and everyone who attends one has stories to tell. We’ve all heard or read about conventions that are wild and woolly, some that are sedate and those of each kind that are filled with uplifting and informative programs. In my three-quarters of a century of living, I’ve been to some of both kinds. Probably the “wildest and woolliest” meetings were a couple of regional Jaycee conflabs. Originally, Jaycees were known as the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees for short) with membership restricted to young men ages 18-35. Ultimately, there was a name change to the short “nickname.”
 
Wed
21
Jan

Perry gives parting speech as legislative session begins

by Ed Sterling
 
Governor Rick Perry addressed a joint session of the House and Senate for the last time on Jan. 15, a couple of days after the opening of the 140- day regular session of the 84th Texas Legislature. Before recounting various aspects of the state’s performance during his record-breaking tenure as chief executive, Perry said, “I have come here to reflect on what we have done together, and to say farewell. But most of all, to tell you it has been the highest of honors to serve as your governor for the last 14 years.”
 
Wed
14
Jan

Proposal would put contracts under increased scrutiny

By Ed Sterling
 
Signaling his intent to promote transparency and accountability in the 84th Texas Legislature, House Speaker Joe Straus announced on Jan. 9 that in the coming weeks the House would release a budget proposal designed to strengthen oversight of state agency contracts. The Legislature convenes today, Jan. 13.
 
Wed
07
Jan

Why Texas needs more Electric Vehicles (EVs)

BY RICHARD GOLLADAY
 
Texas now has too much of a good thing: wind generation. During summer, a good percentage of that West Texas wind production comes on strong when we need it least – late at night. This creates problems for the traditional steam-electric plants on the grid, which have to reduce power output significantly.

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