Houston legislator tries to outlaw tax-funded water parks, VisitDallas failed to clearly report CEO loans in tax filings, more than 1 million in ethics fines have gone unpaid

Texas Monitor Week in Review - November 5, 2017

This week on The Texas Monitor: Paxton prosecutor Kent Schaffer has been billing hours on vacation; contracts and contributions mix at Bush's Alamo project; the HCC investigation is rebooted after the current investigators step down; and the Republican caucus pursues rules changes after Straus announces his retirement. For more government accountability news around the state visit https://texasmonitor.org/

Posted by The Texas Monitor on Monday, November 6, 2017

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt intends to file a bill that would prevent a public school district from using general fund money for a project like the $20 million water park and learning center built by one of the poorest school districts in the state.

VisitDallas failed to publicly record $190,000 in loans given to CEO Phillip Jones in 2015 and 2016, and a source close to the agency said this week that the city will be reviewing the agency’s tax filings to ensure they have been accurately reported.

Texas has had no state auditor for more than three years; a month into this legislative session, it is unclear whether state leaders intend to address the vacancy.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds accomplished his goal of getting out of jail before the beginning of the 86th session of the Texas Legislature, but he hasn’t put all of his legal problems behind him: He still owes the state tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid ethics fines.

Companies that receive millions of dollars in incentives to locate to Texas frequently renegotiate their contacts, often in secret, to get better deals at taxpayers’ expense.


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