Special Edition

Texas State Government and Long-Term Obligations

As the 2017 legislative session crafts the next state budget under tight budgetary constraints, policymakers should remain aware of lingering long-term obligations that could damage the state’s credit rating and limit the amount of revenue available for general spending.

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March

Counting the Cost of Texas Health Care: Comptroller Report Examines Vital State Spending

Health care isn’t just a common human need, it’s one of the largest items in the Texas state budget. It presents a significant continuing challenge to lawmakers.

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March

Will the U.S. Open Up Trade with Cuba? Warmer Relations Could Boost Texas Exports

The numbers are an exporter’s dream: 11 million consumers in a new, untapped market. So what’s the catch?

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February

“Dark Store Theory” and Property Taxation: Legal Interpretation Could Cost States Millions

Texas communities depend on the property taxes generated by retail businesses. But should open, operating stores be taxed in the same way as closed ones?

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February

Texas Ports, Gateways to World Commerce: Comptroller Study Highlights Economic Impacts

Texas has become a hub for international trade. And all this trade moves through one or more of Texas’ 29 official “ports of entry” — seaports, airports, border crossings and multi-modal facilities that offer train, air and roadway links to the state and nation.

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December/January

Certificates of Obligation: A Flexible Funding Tool for Local Projects

Certificates of obligation (COs) provide local governments with flexibility when projects must be financed quickly. But the way COs circumvent voter approval has made them controversial, leading to 2015 legislation restricting their use.

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December/January

The Fiscal Noting Process: Doing the Math on New Legislation

Texas law requires the Legislature to do the math when considering new laws by providing for a “fiscal note” that accompanies each bill.

The Fiscal Noting Process