Budget Surplus

177 years ago today, December 29, 1845, US President James K. Polk signed a bill accepting Texas as the 28th state of the Union. We officially became a state on that day. Now you know.


Commentary subscribes to Texas Monthly. They dropped a piece a couple of days ago on what to do with the $27 billion state budget surplus that we have on hand. Texas Monthly says that is enough to write every Texan, including kids, a $900 check.  Texas Monthly asked a few prominent Texans recommendations on what to do with the surplus.

Some said infrastructure, agriculture, education, property tax relief, job training, helping our retired schoolteachers, and planting millions of more trees.

One thing is for sure. The Texas legislature does a lousy job of prioritizing the needs of Texans. Don’t count on them doing the right thing when it comes to the $27 billion surplus.

On a related note, last week I was at a lunch with folks who are knowledgeable about Texas state government. I asked some in the group to name a Texas state agency that they could boast about its performance, river authorities excluded.

After a bit of awkward silence, someone said Parks and Wildlife. Maybe, but we don’t have enough state parks. Someone said Texas Workforce Commission.  I deal with the Workforce Commission with quarterly filings, and I have never experienced a problem. The conversation on Texas state agencies didn’t last long.


Off the Kuff today looks at how Judge Lina Hidalgo performed in Harris County as compared to Beto in congressional, state senate, state house, county commissioner and JP districts and precincts. A very good take by Charles here: Precinct analysis: Hidalgo versus Mealer – Off the Kuff.

The GOP spent a ton of dough to oust Judge Hidalgo and there were some self-inflicted political wounds like the election administrator miscues and the bungled $11 million COVID outreach contract. Oh, well.


The Chron has a good piece today on the behind the scenes of the City of H-Town boil water notice from a few weeks ago here: Houston boil water notice: New records shed light on chaotic day (houstonchronicle.com).

My goodness.

Here is the online headline to the piece:

New records shed light on behind-the-scenes chaos of Houston’s boil water notice

City officials struggled to grasp basic regulations, argued, and searched frantically for information that should have been available.

Here is how the piece starts:

In the hours before last month’s boil water notice in Houston, city officials struggled to understand basic environmental regulations, argued over messaging, and searched frantically for details about water customers that should have been easily available, according to communications obtained by the Houston Chronicle through a public information request. 

The records show how the city’s ad hoc communication and general lack of preparedness caused confusion as more than 2 million Houstonians scrambled to find bottled water and cope with back-to-back days of school and business closures. Many residents feared they and their families had been exposed to contaminated water.

Sigh. Some heads should roll.


I read somewhere yesterday that some baseball website was predicting us to win 93 games in 2023. We won 106 games this past season.  Got it?

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