Top Morning Stories for February 21, 2011
TT/UT Poll: Texans Want Budget Cuts, But Unsure Where to Cut
A new poll from the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas finds that most Texas voters back spending cuts as a way to balance the state's budget in the next biennium. But voters are divided when it comes to identifying what specific programs they would cut.
From the Tribune's write-up:
Given a list of things that could be cut to balance the budget and asked to check each that they'd consider, the voters were protective of state programs, and overwhelmingly so. They oppose cuts to public education, 82 percent; pre-kindergarten, 62 percent; state grants to college students, 73 percent; state contributions to teacher and state employee retirement programs, 69 percent; the Children's Health Insurance Program, 87 percent; to state environmental regulation that could be picked up by the federal government, 65 percent; cuts to Medicaid providers like doctors and hospitals, 86 percent; state funding for nursing home care, 90 percent; prisons for adults or for juveniles, both 67 percent; new highway construction, 63 percent; border security, 85 percent; or for closing four community colleges, 77 percent.
Austin Pays Higher Jail Fees to County Than Other Cities
The Statesman reports this morning that the City of Austin pays much more for Travis County to hold criminal suspects than other Texas communities. The City will pay $5.9 million to drop suspects off at the County's Central for processing before the suspects are seen by a judge.
Travis County charges no other law enforcement agency, including those in smaller cities, for the same service. Officials say they bill Austin more than half of the $9.7 million cost of operating the central booking operation because its officers bring in three-quarters of all inmates. Several other Texas cities have no such contracts with counties and book their suspects at no cost, the American-Statesman found. Some have similar agreements but pay lower fees, or they handle the need to detain inmates differently and at a reduced cost.
Presidents’ Day Closures
The City of Austin offices are closed today for Presidents’ Day. That includes public libraries. But garbage, recycling and yard trimmings collection for City of Austin customers will be picked up as usual. County, state and federal offices are close today, too.