Mar 24th 2017 | Posted in State by Kristin Gordon

Managing money in our day-to-day lives is quite a balancing act. The key is not to spend more than you have, make stable investments and accrue funds for a nest egg that will serve you well in case of an emergency or during your retirement years. This would be the best-case scenario for everyone, but […]

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Feb 3rd 2017 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Kristin Gordon

Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address this week at the Texas Capitol. He urged lawmakers to get to work immediately on four issues he named as emergency items. During his address, Abbott shared that over 100 children died last year in the child protective system and that Child Protective Services (CPS) […]

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Jan 20th 2017 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Kristin Gordon

As the 85th Legislative Session wraps up its second week of discussions over bills from the House and Senate, state agencies anxiously await decisions that could affect their strategic plans and budget requests. Waiting on those decisions became even more of a nail-bitter for all Texans after Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced that lawmakers could appropriate […]

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Jan 13th 2017 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Kristin Gordon

The day before the 85th Texas Legislative Session convened for 140 days of deliberating over multiple bills, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released the state’s Biennial Revenue Estimate on Monday with a projection of $104.9 billion. The revenue for the 2018-19 biennium is 2.7 percent less than the general-purpose spending that was available in the 2016-17 […]

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Jan 6th 2017 | Posted in State by J Lyn Carl

Thousands of bills go through each session of the Texas Legislature. Some are subject to interpretation. Unfortunately, some are also subject to misinterpretation. Part of Senate Bill 20 from the 84th Texas Legislature falls on the side of misinterpretation. The objective of the legislation, as outlined in the statement of intent in the bill analysis […]

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Dec 9th 2016 | Posted in State by Priscilla Loebenberg

Texas Association of Business (TAB) members warned lawmakers of severe losses to the state’s economy if legislation discriminatory to LGBT individuals is moved forward. Business leaders presented a report that estimated the impact from such legislation. The state could lose between $964 million and $8.5 billion and up to 185,000 jobs, according to the association […]

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Oct 14th 2016 | Posted in State by Priscilla Loebenberg
Image from the 2016 Biennial Legislative Communications Conference

A number of elected officials, along with others in the executive ranks of government in Texas, were among numerous presenters at the 2016 Biennial Legislative Communication Conference. The pre-legislative session event was sponsored by Strategic Partnerships, Inc and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar kicked off the day-long event and discussed […]

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Sep 30th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy, Mary Scott Nabers' Insights by Mary Scott Nabers

Local and state government entities could be headed toward a $1.5 trillion financial catastrophe. Public-sector pension programs are hemorrhaging and experts see no relief in sight. In 2014, the funding gap between promised benefits and funding to pay for the benefits topped $934 billion. The Pew Charitable Trusts, in a recent study, reported that gap […]

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Aug 26th 2016 | Posted in State by Priscilla Loebenberg
Image illustrating the concept of transparency in government
Image Credits: Free Press

Citizens and taxpayers have a right to know how public money is spent — at least that has always been the basic understanding which was codified in the Texas Public Information Act in 1973. “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people […]

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Jun 17th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller
Logo for the Dallas CityMAP plan

The improvements come in a variety of forms. There are reduced travel times or the increased ease of commutes that come with some options. For others, such as the removal of I-345, the improvements would come in the form of the value created by opening up land for development in the central core of Dallas. That new value could be as much as $2.5 billion.

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Jun 8th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller

Almost a quarter of respondents reported that there has been no discussion of the Internet of Things at all, while just more than half of the CIOs said their agencies are still in the informal discussions stage. Only 6 percent of the respondents have included the topic of the IoT in their state strategic plans.

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Jun 8th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller

The bill would require every federal agency to report to the board all federal civilian property with data containing age, square footage, operating costs and condition. The information would be used to create a database of all property owned by the federal government. Such a resource does not currently exist.

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Jun 1st 2016 | Posted in State by Peter Partheymuller

State governments across the United States are doing a lot to ensure their residents are able to access the latest technology. The most recent moves toward that goal in Virginia address both the infrastructure that will bring broadband Internet service to the entire state and create a database of broadband’s reach.

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May 18th 2016 | Posted in State by Peter Partheymuller
Logo for the FDOT ROADS project

ROADS project leaders conducted surveys and interviews with FDOT staff members to discover what data they use, how they use it and how that can be improved. They realized that the department relied too heavily on obtaining data from individuals who had developed tricks to store and utilize various pieces of data rather than applications or tools.

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May 13th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller
Photo by Paul Albertella licensed under CC BY 2.0

Texas voters last weekend approved almost 70 bond propositions worth more than $4.5 billion to their local governments. In total, there were 91 bond elections valued at more than $5 billion held May 7. In addition to the various bond packages, municipalities across Texas held city council, mayoral and other elections Saturday.

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Apr 27th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller
Image of Boston transit map by licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A primary goal of the project is to identify gaps in service, not just geographic locations that are underserved by public transit, but also gaps in time. (For example, detailing routes that are not served on weekends or at certain times of day.)

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Apr 20th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller
Photo by Michel Desbiens licensed underCC BY 2.0.

Most rail bridges throughout the nation are owned by individual railroad companies, not by federal, state or local governments. In 2008, Congress voted to require the railroads to establish bridge safety management programs and to inspect their bridges annually. It is the job of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to oversee those programs and to conduct audits of the annual inspections.

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Apr 1st 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller
Image of a map of Texas toll roads and bridges

Legislature, TxDOT discuss future of Texas toll roads as method of financing projects The Texas Legislature last year requested the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) prepare a report looking into the possibility of removing tolls from roads throughout the state. Transportation officials spoke at a Texas House Transportation Committee this week to update members on […]

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Mar 4th 2016 | Posted in State by Peter Partheymuller
Photo of the future Palo Pinto Mountains State Park provide by Texas Parks and Wildlife.

With appropriations in hand, stage is set for major TPWD construction projects For the 2012-2013 two-year state budget period, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was allocated $23 million for state park capital repairs. For the next biennium, the department’s capital repairs budget had shrunk to $11 million. For the current budget, the TPWD […]

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Feb 10th 2016 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller

President requests infrastructure spending, advocates for P3s President Barack Obama yesterday released his proposed budget for the Fiscal Year 2017. The $4.1 trillion proposal won’t be passed as is, but it serves as a signpost of the Obama Administration’s preferences and goals going forward beyond his time in office. “The budget that we’re releasing today […]

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Dec 30th 2015 | Posted in Legislation/Policy by Peter Partheymuller
Photo of the proposed federal cournthouse in Nashville, TN, one of the projects funded in the congressional spending bill
Rendering of proposed federal courthouse in Nashville, Tenn.

Congressional spending bill lifts ban on oil exports, heavily funds construction As the year progressed toward its end, members of Congress began to get things done, big things — like pass a transportation bill and approve a budget that keeps the lights on and the doors open. Two weeks ago, Congress passed and President Barack […]

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Dec 2nd 2015 | Posted in State by Peter Partheymuller
Image of the logo for the Oregon PUC, which will spend 2016 determining energy storage procedures for electric companies

Energy storage mandate to serve as pilot for other states In June, the Oregon state legislature passed a law requiring the state’s two largest electricity providers to have a minimum of 5 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage in service by Jan. 1, 2020. The law is significant, industry leaders say, because it will provide […]

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Nov 20th 2015 | Posted in State by Peter Partheymuller
Image of the Texas scorecard on government transparency and other categories related to deterring government corruption

State ranks near bottom in access to information, ethics disclosure The Center for Public Integrity, a national government watchdog, last week released a report ranking the 50 states on transparency, accountability and ethics. Texas did not fare well, ranking 38th overall with a grade of D- and 48th in terms of the public’s access to information. That kind of national ranking does […]

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