From the category archives:

Letters From Austin

Elections have consequences.  And the residents of Houston are finding out just how much money those consequences personally cost. Back in November, the city’s voters passed a “rain tax”, advertized by Mayor Annise Parker and proponents of the proposition as $5 a month charge on average.  Turns out that average was based on only 1,875 [...]

It’s like watching a hurricane build a house. That’s how I would describe the attempt to write a comprehensive bill to address the issues at the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Much of the ever changing language is due to the battle over tort reform issues such as treble damages and multi-district litigation courts. Unfortunately, [...]

Letter From Austin: A Change In Culture

by Julie Drenner on May 12, 2011

The omnibus eminent domain bill has passed both Texas chambers and now is on its way to the Governor’s desk for approval. Gov. Perry included this issue as one of his emergency items at the beginning of the session.  It prohibits a taking of real estate by a governmental or private entity that is not [...]

Letter From Austin: It’s Personal

by Julie Drenner on May 6, 2011

It’s personal.  To freshman Texas Senator Brian Birdwell, the demise of Osama Bin Laden is a signal that justice has been served.  Back on September 11th, Sen. Birdwell was serving as an Army lieutenant colonel in the Pentagon.  Find the details of his courageous story here. *** When hurricanes or hailstorms bring mass destruction to [...]

Ironically, the one thing that may derail the campus carry bill is insurance. Opponents claim carrying guns on college campuses comes with a significant financial burden to cover the cost of increased insurance premiums. The issue pits the responsibility of universities against the second amendments rights of students. Houston Community College reports its insurance would [...]

Letter From Austin: Supply The Supply Side

by Julie Drenner on April 21, 2011

I attended the launch of the Laffer Center on Supply-Side Economics at the Texas Public Policy Foundation on Monday.  It was interesting to hear from the founder, Art Laffer, Former Senator Phil Gramm and former Congressman Kent Hance as they each related personal accounts of their involvement in the passage of the Economic Recovery Tax [...]

Letter From Austin: Guess I Was Wrong

by Julie Drenner on April 14, 2011

Julie Drenner on states and children learning to manage money.

As with any discussions surrounding a budget, one must first start with an understanding of the current fiscal environment. Texas is one of the few large states not in debt and is thus dealing with a revenue shortfall rather than a deficit. As lawmakers amended the $164.5 billion budget, they remained committed to using the [...]

Texas Representative Ruth McClendon laid out her bill permitting mile based rating plans for personal automobile insurance in the House Insurance Committee last week. In 2001, she passed a similar bill providing for a pilot program which expired in 2005.  Her current legislation would permanently approve a plan to allow consumers to purchase overage based [...]

This week the Texas House committee on Business and Industry heard a bill relating to the priority of the debts incurred by homeowners in relation to delinquent payment of Homeowner Association dues and fines. Supporters contend that HOA powers are repeatedly abused and the threat of foreclosure is used as a hammer to force homeowners [...]

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