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October 9, 2018      3:57 PM

Greenfield: State Expenditures in FY18 should leave conservatives pleased and liberals depressed

By the numbers, economist Dr. Stuart Greenfield lays out what’s happening with the Texas budget, this time on the expenditure side of the equation

With the close of FY18, State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced state tax collections and revenue increased at a substantial rate. The Comptroller noted that both All Funds tax collections and total revenue increased at substantial rates, 12.0 percent, and 8.1 percent, respectively.

Comptroller Hegar did not comment on total state expenditures, which increased (3.5 percent), a rate substantially lower than the increase in state revenue. The agency will soon release the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and the Annual Cash Report.

Both reports document state revenue and expenditures for FY18.

For now, I’ll offer an overview of state expenditures for FY18 based on the cash report.

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

October 2, 2018      4:37 PM

Grusendorf: What Texas Blue Wave?

From the right: Former Rep. Kent Grusendorf, a Republican, doubts there will be a blue wave but says if there is one, the degree to which a partisan shift occurs in the Texas House will have great ramifications for the speaker’s race

A few weeks ago Republican Pete Flores won a race in a presumed safe Democratic Texas Senate district against Pete Gallego, a well-known and respected politician. That seat, having been in the hands of Democrats for well over a century, was assumed secure for the Democrat in the special election after the criminal conviction of incumbent Sen. Carlos Uresti. This huge election upset emerged despite daily reminders in the media that we have a potential Blue Wave on the horizon.

So, is the coming Texas Blue Wave genuine, or just wishful delusion on the part of the media and their Democrat allies? Is conservative Senator Ted Cruz really at risk? If real, what impact could such a blue wave have on the November elections in Texas?

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By Kent Grusendorf

September 28, 2018      12:30 PM

Smith: We are going to need a bigger boat

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith wonders whether American democracy is strong enough to survive its demons

Remember the scene in the movie, Jaws? After Roy Scheider gets a look at the killer great white shark, he says to Robert Shaw, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”

That’s the reaction I have to the menacing demon gliding today through democracy’s waters. A fierce and insatiable obsession with power is eating away at the soul of America, destroying faith in democracy and creating economic and political inequality we haven’t seen in decades.

To survive it, we’re going to need a bigger boat.

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By Glenn W. Smith

September 26, 2018      2:30 PM

Greenfield: It Was a Very Good Year and a Good Estimate

Economist Dr. Stuart Greenfield argues candidates should hope and pray economic growth continues, they could also push policies that promote economic growth like improved public and higher education

The close of FY18 on August 31 should bring joy to the state and the Revenue Estimating professionals at the Comptroller’s Office. General Revenue-Related (GRR) receipts ($57.2 billion) exceeded the revised July Certification Revenue Estimate ($57.0 billion) by a minimal 0.3 percent ($164.4 million).  Most of this increase will flow to the bottom line, as $137.4 million (83.6 percent) of the GRR revenue increase is from increased sales tax collections.

Figure 1 shows the cumulative YTD growth in GRR revenue for FY14 through FY18. The percentage increase (9.3 percent) in GRR revenue was greater than the percentage changes in any fiscal year since FY12 (12.9 percent). The rate of growth was over three times the growth rate in FY17. Both the tax collections and non-tax portions of GRR revenue grew at a rate somewhat above the estimate.

The current estimate expects GRR tax collections to decrease by 0.5 percent in FY19 and non-tax GRR revenue to increase by 1.7 percent. These changes in FY19 revenue sources will result in no change in FY19 total GRR revenue. 

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By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

September 12, 2018      4:33 PM

TCC: First step in funding kids' services in next state budget

The staff at Texans Care for Children take a look at the budget requests for DSHS, TEA, DFPS, HHSC and more

While thousands of bills are filed in each legislative session, many observers have pointed out that the most important one for Texas kids and families is the state budget bill.

State agencies recently took an important step in the budget-writing process when they released their Legislative Appropriations Requests (LARs). The Speaker of the House, the Lt. Governor, and the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) will use those LARs to help them write the first draft of the state budget, which is typically released early in the legislative session.

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By Texans Care for Children Staff

September 10, 2018      2:35 PM

Grusendorf: Are We Funding Our Own Demise?

Former Rep. Kent Grusendorf seeks to set these youngsters straight about the realities of socialism

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a soon to be a member of the US House of Representatives, has received a lot of public attention recently regarding her aggressive support of socialism.  Cortez is not unique.

Despite the totality of world history and empirical evidence to the contrary, millennials have a more favorable opinion of socialism than of capitalism. In fact, polls indicate that a majority of millennials would prefer to live in socialist, fascist, or communist regimes than under capitalism. Wow!

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By Kent Grusendorf

August 30, 2018      2:40 PM

Villanueva: We Agree, Gov. Abbott, Texas must boost school funding, here is how to do it

Chandra Villanueva at the Center for Public Policy Priorities commends the governor for committing to more funding for schools and outlines the potential pitfalls lawmakers may encounter in trying to make it a reality

This week Governor Abbott made a case for boosting state funding to our public schools. We agree that money matters in education, and the 5.4 million public school students in Texas deserve smaller class sizes, state-of-the-art technology, enriching art programs and more.

In the last decade, the state’s portion of public school funding has plummeted, leaving local property taxpayers to pick up the difference. In 2008 the state and localities split the funding responsibility for public schools almost equally, 50-50. In 2019, local school districts pay about 62 percent of the price tag for schools, while the state pays only 38 percent.

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By Chandra Villanueva, CPPP