WHAT’S GOING ON AT THE CAPITOL?

On Tuesday Governor Perry delivered his seventh “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Texas House and Senate.  While much of the speech centered on some of the governor’s key policy positions on jobs, higher education, and taxes, he delivered some good news that relates to cities.

Most notably, the governor urged lawmakers to use $3.7 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for a one-time investment in water and transportation infrastructure programs.  He also called for ending the practice of using dedicated funds and specific fees for anything other than their intended purpose.  He specifically called upon the legislature to end diversions from the State Highway Fund, freeing up an additional $1.3 billion of ongoing biennial funding available for transportation

“What I am proposing will support critical water and transportation systems across our state, addresses our needs both short and long-term, and ensures both water and traffic will continue to flow in Texas for generations to come,” the governor said.

He also proposed providing at least $1.8 billion in tax relief by passing a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to give money directly back to taxpayers.

In other Capitol-related news, the speaker plans to issue House committee assignments by week’s end, which will allow that chamber to begin its work.  Stay tuned for an interesting 118 more days. 

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