Amid property tax breaks, lawsuits rise in Houston
Amid property tax breaks, lawsuits rise in Houston
Kenric Ward | July 28, 2016|   0
Eighteen Houston area companies received $237,806,510 in property tax exemptions last year. But that hasn’t slowed the wave of lawsuits hitting the Harris County Appraisal District, as businesses fight to reduce their tax liability.
What’s in a name? History, and quite a bit of money
What’s in a name? History, and quite a bit of money
Heather Kays | July 28, 2016|   0
There’s the Confederacy. And then there’s the cost. Confederate cavalry Gen. James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart of the Army of Northern Virginia died at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864. Now some of his fellow northern Virginians are trying to kill him again. An effort to change the name of  J.E.B. Stuart High School […]
Regional haze win part of bigger battle against ‘coercive federalism’
Regional haze win part of bigger battle against ‘coercive federalism’
Mark Lisheron | July 27, 2016|   0
While much media attention has been paid to the propensity for Texas attorneys general to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, much less has been paid to their recent victories. Unless you subscribe to a legal or environmental newsletter, you might have missed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halting the EPA’s attempt to […]
Texas charter schools face funding obstacle
Amelia Hamilton | July 26, 2016|   0
In Texas’ upcoming legislative session, a fight is expected over charter school facilities funding, which David Dunn, executive director of the Texas Charter School Association, calls “the largest inequity for charter schools.” Dunn said that of the $5.5 billion school districts received in facilities funding in 2013-2014, charter schools received zero. Read more here.
Taxpayer restoration of historic courthouses trudges on
Taxpayer restoration of historic courthouses trudges on
Mark Lisheron | July 26, 2016|   1
The Texas Historical Commission has handed out more than $265 million over 17 years in taxpayer money to rehabilitate and preserve county courthouses. But what was once a short-term response to an embarrassment is now a program heading into it tenth legislative session having not yet gotten a third of the way to the more than 200 […]
Commercial lawsuits blow back on Texas taxpayers
Commercial lawsuits blow back on Texas taxpayers
Kenric Ward | July 25, 2016|   2
Lawsuits over commercial property appraisals are on the rise in Texas, and taxpayers are footing an ever-bigger legal bill. The tide of lawsuits comes as large commercial entities contest double-digit increases in property values that produce correspondingly bigger tax bills.
Investigators probe mystery votes in Cook’s primary win
Investigators probe mystery votes in Cook’s primary win
Jon Cassidy | July 21, 2016|   173
Just one day after a federal appellate court dismissed voter fraud as an “almost nonexistent problem,” Texas is facing a potentially major election fraud case. In a March 1 primary election in Hill County, there were some 1,743 more votes cast then there were voters in the election, according to a June 21 letter from state Director of Elections Keith Ingram referring an investigation to the Attorney General's office.
Richardson suspends red light camera program
Richardson suspends red light camera program
Mark Lisheron | July 20, 2016|   16
The city of Richardson on Wednesday stopped issuing tickets to drivers caught on camera running a red light. The decision comes almost a month after a district judge in the city of 100,000 north of Dallas issued a summary judgment and $27,000 in attorney’s fees to Russell Bowman, a Keller attorney who challenged a four-year-old $75 […]
Official vows to stop Lone Star Rail in its tracks
Official vows to stop Lone Star Rail in its tracks
Kenric Ward | July 20, 2016|   34
Its designated route blocked, the faltering Lone Star Rail project could lose its funding lifeline next month. "To move forward is a waste of taxpayer money," Hays County Commissioner Will Conley told Watchdog.org.
State looks to curb tyranny of the local majority
State looks to curb tyranny of the local majority
Mark Lisheron | July 20, 2016|   20
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner this week auditioned for a starring role in a conservative effort in the next legislative session to curb local government overreach. Turner said he is reviewing a call from immigration activists in Houston to create a municipal identification program, an effort to skirt a Supreme Court deadlock that sank President Barack Obama’s effort […]