Texas horsetrack owners and interests desire lawdevices to permit slot equipments at their tracks — a relocate they say would help save the equine market alive while increasing government income in the time of difficult financial times.

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One of the Laws of the (Legislative) Universe is that you can not execute this kind of thing without an financial examine. They"ve acquired one (click here to downpack it) that states their proposal would create 53,000 tasks in Texas, produce $6.8 billion in financial task, and would also pump cash right into the state treasury at about the same price as the state lottery. Recent state history would certainly put the odds on that last case at one-in-three. Legalizing bingo and parimutuel gambling did nothing for the state budget; developing a state lottery provides a fairly steady and also fairly tiny stream of money right into the state"s cprovides (it"s about $1 billion each year, or about five percent of what the sales tax produces). And then there"s the concern of House Speaker Joe Straus, whose family members owns part of Retama Park between San Antonio and Austin. Straus has shelp he"ll save his mitts off the gambling issue. He went better in a current interview on Texas Monthly Talks, saying that having actually him in the chair is most likely even more a setago than a boon to his family interests in steeds and tracks. The team behind every one of this is Texans for Economic Development, which confirmed up in the last couple of election cycles through a pile of cash and also a goal of making the Legislature more friendly to gambling plan. "They had a successful election strategy, and the makeup of the Senate and also the Housage are such that they have actually the votes this time," shelp Mike Lavigne, a spokesguy for TED. You take that and the economic case appropriate now, and the reality that the group pushing for it is even more linked than it"s been in the previous." (Here"s a look at current political contributions from the racetrack folks.) They want lawmakers to grant a constitutional amendment that would enable video lottery terminals — much better known as slot devices — at existing racetracks. That wouldn"t expand the footprint of gambling, and also given that it wouldn"t enable card games or roulette wheels and so on, it wouldn"t turn the tracks into full-blvery own casinos. That "footprint" defense can be discovered in speeches from Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst over the last few years. A constitutional amendment would skip the governor"s office on its means to voters, and offer lawdevices the opportunity to describe their vote as a choice for voters quite than as assistance for gambling. The exact same scheme gained the lottery via the Legislature in 1991, and nobody shed their next election as an outcome of that vote. But tright here is opplace — the antis are led by Texans Against Gambling — and the concern renders lawmachines nervous. They approved the lottery, choose bingo and also parimutuel gaming before it, in the challenge of tight budgets and also the risk that higher taxes might be the just means for the state to go forward. You have the right to still find political people who case that the lottery was the only point that prevented the state from adopting an earnings taxation in 1991 (they might have also been looking at the polls at the time).


The Texas Racing Commission — funded entirely from fees on the racing interests it regulates — has around 3 months to uncover a method to prevent its bottom line from turning red.In the wake of untrustworthy earnings from uncamelted winning bet tickets, the agency is considering budgain cuts, increases in those fees, and also appeals to the governor and the Legislature as it looks for means to remain in the black. The superior bets — called OUTs — rise and also loss via wagering at tracks. It"s the money owed to bettors who never before collect. After a year, the tickets are worthmuch less, and the money reverts to the tracks. They have the right to balance out particular expenses permitted by the state through OUTs money; the remainder goes to the TRC, wbelow it"s the largest single source of revenue. When OUTs are dvery own, TRC"s revenue drops. Their latest projections have them running $677,833 short in their budacquire. They"re proposing budobtain cuts (leaving empty race supervisor, drug-trial and error positions, and also administrative positions unfilled) and a set of fee rises to narrowhead that budacquire gap to $255,154. They can go to the Legislature and/or the governor"s office to cover that remainder. The financial troubles at the firm come at a time once the tracks say they require brand-new commodities to be financially viable themselves. They desire slot equipments allowed at existing racetracks and are lobbying legislators to put that concept up for a famous vote next year. They compete it would certainly conserve their sector, put money into the economic climate, and earn the state $1 billion in fees on the new gambling. Racing regulators will certainly meet through track owners and sector teams this week to talk about raising yearly fees by $25,000 for a lot of inenergetic racetrack licenses. They"ve proposed fees of up to $50,000 for apverified "transfers of pecuniary interests" and also of approximately $100,000 for apconfirmed changes of areas of a licensed track. License fees for a selection occupations — from track announcers to farriers, clergy to vets, tattooers to jockeys — would increase, also, under the proposal. The TRC staff will certainly satisfy through some of the impacted groups this week (Wednesday) and also the full commission will certainly take up the fee issues on February 25. Without transforms, firm officials think they"ll be in red ink sometime in May. The company is on the Sunset Commission"s review list this year; Sunset recommfinished replacing the OUTs income— which it deems undependable — via better fees on licenses. Sunset"s report shelp one track, Lone Star in Grand Prairie, pays the a lot of in OUTs money to the state also though it has actually fewer racing days than 5 various other tracks.


Stocks are down, joblessness is up and also bloggers are tracking people quitting and entering positions that pay significantly better than writing. They"re additionally talking about privileges that go along with a press pass (favor seeing the House Speaker"s private apartment), a certain freshmale senator from Ft Worth, blog-associated news and also filed law. We wrap it up through a medley of miscellany.

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Employment Line

After an intense interrogation by the Senate Finance committee, Robert Rowling resigned from his positions on the boards of College of Texas regents and also UT Investment Management Company. Senators weren"t happy via seven-figure bonoffers doled out in a poor-percreating sector, and Rowling wasn"t happy around his treatment by legislators.

The UTIMCO fiasco is all about national politics, BurkaBlog says, noting that former Gov. Rick Perry backer Rowling had actually recently claimed himself a Kay Bailey Hutchison male. Burka also has spin from Hutchison"s folks and from Rowling predecessor Charles Miller , that uses the term "sucker punch" to describe the proceedings. More from Miller below.

Come to think of it, quite a couple of KBH supporters have been losing their governor-appointed tasks freshly, states the Dallas Morning News" Trail Blazers. More here. Postcards from the Lege reports that, compared to UTIMCO, 2 state pension funds market "quite modest" catalyst packeras to employees. More from Postcards below. Writing on the topic, Eye on Williamson claims new Housage Speaker Joe Straus has actually shown "<Barack> Obama-favor coolness and also pragmatism."

Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Ft Worth, is calling for the head of Texas Legislative Council chief Milton Rister following revelations that Rister sanctioned the purge of former House Speaker Tom Craddick"s computer system files, says PoliTex, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram"s blog. (Capitol Annex has actually heard rumors of a distinct grand also jury convening in Austin to get to the bottom of the matter.)

Speaking of heads rolling, Trail Blazers notices Rep. Susan King, R-Abilene, accessorizing through a snake"s severed head. After some study, Trail Blazers short articles a newspaper short article featuring King, a rattlesnake and also a machete, that doesn"t finish well for the snake.

A neighborhood Dallas hardware store has actually available former Pres. George W. Bush a project as a greeter, claims Dallas.org, including that they"ll let Bush become a guest blogger if he desires. (No word on the employment avenues yet from Pres. Bush, who after all has a Harvard MBA on his resume.)

In spite of the proximity of its city hall to the State Capitol and also the consequent savings on gasoline, the City of Austin is paying $830,000 for lobbyists this session, the most in the state, states KVUE"s Political Junkie. She"s posted Austin"s legislative menu and also the list of 15 lobsters.

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Eat at Joe"s

Housage Speaker Joe Straus let a scrum of reporters tromp through the Speaker"s Apartment for a Friday morning breakquick. Being polite, well-mannered guests, they peppered their hosts through concerns and also videotaped everything. Here"s video and links to sustaining entries from Trail Blazers. Here"s film from Texas Politics, the Houston Chronicle"s blog, and some from KUT"s notes from the Lege. And follow these web links for a video and also photos from NewspaperTree.com Blog.

Texas Watchdog short articles the paperoccupational connected via the renovation of the Housage lounge. Placed it all on eBay, argues Half Empty, that, it appears, favor Out There, additionally did not receive an invitation to breakquick.

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Hazy Hazing

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, absolutely did not make an indecent proposal to freshmale Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, claims Texas Observer"s Floor Pass after earlier reporting to the contrary. Here"s a Burnt Orange write-up complaining around the erroneous enattempt, which Floor Pass deleted. And here"s a link to the series of write-ups a Burnt Orange blogger wrote around spending the day with Davis.

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Blog Log

Lone Star Times is passing the digital hat about for real money to pay for diapers. (Readers had given $411 toward the $500 goal as of Sunday afternoon.)

Texas on the Potomac, the Houston Chronicle"s blog, talks about their multimedia goals in their first video blog, starring D.C. bureau chief Rick Dunham. New Potomac members Helen Thomas and also David Horsey compose about previous Pres. Shrub and also draw about Obama"s Cabinet picks, respectively.

Texas Freedom Network released its yearly State of the Religious Right in Texas report.

The new Ellis County Observer"s news team posted a snapshot of themselves.

Texideserve to Tattler road tripped to Big Bend State Park (next door to the nationwide park) and snapped some photos. On the other hand, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn made a videotaped message intended for straight intake by bloggers.

If bloggers had editors, this lede would certainly not exist: "An opportunity to interwatch Jim Cardle, founder of TexasInsider.org was presented to me and also I took it," says Pondering Penguin.

Headline of the Week award was no challenge, with Texans for Rick Perry taking it with an entry on just how cool their boss is, titled, "Governor Perry: against bailouts before being against bailouts was cool."

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Billfold

PoliTex reports on the very first bills filed by freshmales Reps. Mark Shelton, R-Ft Worth, and also Chris Turner, R-Burlekid. Annex spotlights bills pertained to the franchise taxes, rerelocating the Attorney General from redistricting and also restraining dogs.

Mike Falick"s Blog looks at a bill calling for drug-and-alcohol experimentation for at leastern 10 percent of "expert employees of a school district" every year. (That implies principals, teachers, nurses, bus motorists, board members and also employees that need certification.)

A bill by Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, would permit public schools-sponsored shooting sports, claims A Keyboard and also a .45. And Bay Area Houston looks at legislation aimed at redeveloping the Texas Residential Construction Commission.

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Hodge Podge

U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, (or someone who looks and sounds just prefer him) is making himself available for a one-hour online tvery own hall meeting on Potomac, founding at noon Houston time Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Blue Dot Blues reports that former Highland Village mayor Bill Lawrence is trying out either the Texas gubernatorial or UNITED STATE Senate race in 2010. Lawrence ran in the 2006 GOP Key in House District 63, finishing fourth in a area of 5, through Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, going on to take the gold medal.

Letters from Texas channels a vision of what a Texas Senate session might look like whenever the Lege is broadactors statewide on cable TV. On the other hand, an professional on the topic writes in to Burnt Orange saying that it"s a difficult task, but one that might be done.

Capitol staffers are competing against 13 various other says to check out who deserve to walk the the majority of. It"s among the fitness campaigns Perry is pushing, and the winners will certainly be posted right here on Feb. 20.

Important civilization from Dallas rendezvosupplied through various other necessary people from Dallas at the Austin Club and talked political agendas, states Trail Blazers. At the same time, Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, obtained to meet Maria Cristina Chirolla, Columbia"s consul basic. He likewise short articles on his A Capitol Blog a video clip complying with her career fighting drug lords.

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This edition of Out Tright here was compiled and also written by Patrick Brendel, that hails from Victoria but is semi-settled in Austin. We cherry-pick the state"s political blogs each week, in search of news, info, gossip, and also brand-new jokes. The opinions here belengthy (mostly) to the bloggers, and we"re including their links so you deserve to hunt them down if you wish. Our blogroll — the list of Texas blogs we watch — is on our links page, and if you understand of a Texas political blog that need to be on it, simply shoot us a note. Please send comments, suggestions, gripes or retorts to Texas Weekly editor Ross Ramsey.