Hot List: day 78

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Day 78 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

LINE OF THE DAY
“This is the largest undeveloped casino market in the United States.”
-Jack Pratt, head of the Texas Gaming Association on Texas’ potential revenue from legalized gambling

FLOOR PLAY BY ABBY RAPOPORT
You’d think that with a $27 billion budget shortfall and now cuts that would catastrophically affect hundreds of thousands of Texans, our state leaders would get a jolt back to reality. But as Abby Rapoport writes in her latest print column, they are still living in a “land of ideological purity,” and not even a report projecting that the budget will result in 300,000 job losses can bring them back down to earth. 

OBSERVED
Lawmakers have yet to sincerely broach the idea of repealing big-business tax exemptions to help raise revenue this session, but the Senate Finance Committee at least started talking about it. As Ari Phillips writes, state Sen. Rodney Ellis laid out a bill yesterday calling for a “periodic review of state and local tax ‘preferences,’ i.e. favorable tax policies for corporations.” 

BEST OF THE REST
The Austin American Statesman looks at a host of environmental bills, ranging from “recycling TVs to disclosing chemicals used in natural gas drilling” that enviro groups and legislators think have a good chance at passing all because of one common thread — in this tight-budget session, they come at no cost to the state. 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
The House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee will hear several gambling-related bills this morning, while anti-bullying legislation is back up in the House Public Education Committee this afternoon.