Items of Interest Compiled by Arnold Public Affairs
Only 2 days before the start of the new 82nd Legislature.
Here’s what to expect in the next 10 days:
- Comptroller Combs will issue her revenue estimate so the mystery about how big the shortfall is (ranges from $10b to 28b) will be solved;
- The House Republicans will hold a caucus meeting on Monday to discuss and possibly take a vote on who should be speaker and whether Democrats will be given chairs of committees;
- The session will begin at noon on Tuesday;
- The Speaker will be elected;
- The 2012/2013 budget will be released;
- The Governor and Lt. Governor will be inaugurated;
- And then the work will begin!
In other news:
Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin has submitted his resignation but will stay on until the Governor appoints a new Commissioner.
Estimating How Much Texas Will Collect is a Dark Art
Lawmakers are waiting for Comptroller Susan Combs to forecast exactly how much money the state will collect between now and August 2013 so they can write a two-year budget that spends no more than that. It’s not exactly like opening the envelopes at the Oscars, but the entire Capitol community will be hanging on her every word.
(View complete article at: http://www.texastribune.org/texas-taxes/budget/estimating-how-much-tx-will-collect-is-a-dark-art/)
CBO says health care repeal would deepen deficit
Rescinding the federal law to overhaul the health-care system, the first objective of House Republicans (in Congress) who ascended to power this week, would ratchet up the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade and leave 32 million more Americans uninsured, according to congressional budget analysts.
(View complete article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/06/AR2011010606159.html?hpid=topnews
Key Education Mandates Could Be Cut to Save Money
Get acquainted with a phrase that will be often repeated in the upcoming 82nd Legislature’s brawls over public education: unfunded mandate. And there will be brawls. As lawmakers come under pressure to help schools cope with the reduced funding that the budget shortfall will surely bring, they will look to relax state regulations that create costs local school districts bear on their own or with limited help from the state.
(View complete article at: http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/key-education-mandates-could-be-cut-to-save-money/ )
Editorial: Bush draws a point Texas GOP, Obama should heed
When the 2011 Texas Legislature opens next week, legislators will have already missed their chance to create an independent redistricting commission. To get one ready for this year, they would have had to set it up during their 2009 session. Back then, our friends in Austin rejected Republican Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s proposal to create an independent panel and opted to draw the districts themselves again.
(View complete article at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-redistricting_0104edi.State.Edition1.41b81d5.html )
Texas House speaker candidates at different ends of liberal-conservative spectrum
On Jan. 11, one of the first actions of the Texas House of Representatives will be to elect a speaker. Current speaker Joe Straus is being challenged by fellow Republicans Warren Chisum and Ken Paxton. While Paxton has received the backing of more than a dozen Republican House members, as well as several national political actors, Chisum’s support base is minimal.
(View complete article at: http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog/2011/01/on_the_edges_texas_house_speakers.html)