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Making Dallas Even Better

In Search of Dallas’ Missing Alcohol Sales Tax Revenue

It’s been fun listening to the budget debates over the last couple of weeks: Mayor Rawlings, Lee Kleinman, Jennifer Staubach Gates, Scott Griggs, Rickey D. Callahan, and Philip Kingston politely asking for some minor (less than 1%) tweaks to the budget — and City Manager A.C. Gonzalez responding by threatening to burn the place to the ground.

One thing that never came up, however, was the city’s new mixed beverage sales tax. What’s that? You haven’t heard of it? Well, you’re not alone. I can find no mention of it in either the city’s 2014 audited financial statements or 2016 budget. I also can’t find any record of the City Council ever having been briefed on the matter, notwithstanding the fact the State of Texas is telling us they’ve sent us $8,410,145.63 as our cut, just in the first year-and-a-half. Going back through the financials, I did find something with a similar description, an “alcohol beverage tax.” And wow, look at that: up 52% since 2012!

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Mapped: Where Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz Spend Their Time on the Road

A couple weeks ago, the Sunlight Foundation did what can only be described as the Lord’s work. It took every U.S. Senate expenditure and transformed it from a worthless PDF to a searchable, sortable spreadsheet. It has everything. Staff retreats, photographer sessions, the salaries of the seven barbers who cut taxpayer-subsidized hair. Everything.

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Texas’ State Budget Tripled From 1992 to 2010

The Texas state budget tripled from 1992 to 2010, and now lawmakers want to amend the state Constitution to limit further expansion, the Texas Tribune reported today. The biannual budget grew to $187.5 billion from $62.8 billion, roughly 3.9 percent every two years, once inflation and population gains are considered. The 2012-13 budget fell to […]

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Florida Leads the U.S. in Concealed Firearm Permits, Texas Somehow Far Behind

Florida is slated to become the first state with one million concealed firearm permits, Bloomberg reported yesterday. State officials issued 993,200 active permits as of Nov. 30, and are expected to pass the one million mark next week. “Floridians have a great respect and appreciation for their Second Amendment rights,” said Adam Putnam, Florida’s commissioner of […]

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Dallas Kids Still Abnormally Poor, Census Shows

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week show that Dallas County children, on whole, are poorer than not only most other Texas children, but most other children in America’s largest cities. Close to 30 percent of children in Dallas County between the ages of five and 17 live in poverty, the numbers show, nearly a […]

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‘Big Tex’ Tops Dallas’ Google Searches in 2012

Kick around on Google Zeitgeist for a bit, and you’ll find some interesting nuggets. For instance: the fifth-most searched recipe in the United States was for something called “slutty brownies.” A thin, sultry strip of coconut down the middle? Or just brownies that everyone can enjoy? I don’t know. Anyway, the list of Dallas’ top searches just […]

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How Do Dallas-Area School Districts Stack Up Against the Rest of the World?

In a word: fine. They stack up fine. Yesterday, the George W. Bush Institute released its Global Report Card, which compares math and reading scores internationally. Every school district in the United States is accounted for, then compared to a list of 25 developed countries, mostly in Europe. The scores are from 2009, so recent […]

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Fiscal Cliff Could Cost Texas’ Health and Human Services System $142 Million, Affect 327K Clients

As the fiscal cliff conversation heats up (three weeks to go!), its financial impact on Texas’ programs is starting to come into focus. That includes an estimated $142 million reduction for Health and Human Services, a drop that will affect more than 300,000 clients statewide, HHS budget and fiscal policy director David Kinsey told the […]

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Texas Might Turn Blue Sooner Than You Think

The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza spent some time with Senator-elect Ted Cruz, right before the election. In his very long piece, Lizza discusses immigration, and how those immigrants might turn dependably red states into blue states. And he’s not just talking foreign immigrants: More than a million Americans have moved to Texas in the past […]

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