By Aliyya SwabyThe Texas Tribunetexastribune.org The vote brings the upper chamber one step closer to catching up with the lower chamber by passing three top legislative priorities: the budget, school finance, and tax reform bills.In a tweet Wednesday morning, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s president, congratulated the House for passing property tax reform legislation, Senate Bill 2, and said it would go to a conference committee between the two chambers “ASAP.” And he noted that HB 3’s trajectory had been “expedited” so it could get to the Senate floor. (“Also ASAP.”)But some committee members expressed frustration that it was hard to get some constituents on board without reports detailing how each district would be affected.“It’s really difficult for them to feel confident about what this looks like for them,” said Paxton, who declined to take a vote on the bill.Senate Education Committee members voted out a version of the school finance legislation that differs in many ways from the version the House voted out in early April. It includes a $5,000 across-the-board raise for full-time classroom teachers and librarians, funding for districts that want to pay higher-rated teachers more, money for districts with better student academic outcomes, and a few different long-term property tax relief proposals.The House’s version of the bill requires districts to use a portion of their additional base funding per student on raises for all school employees and designates extra money for raises to be given at districts’ discretion. It lowers school tax rates by 4 cents per $100 valuation — $100 off a tax bill for the owner of a $250,000 home — and lowers rates further for districts taxing higher. But it doesn’t include a proposal for long-term, ongoing tax relief.House members made it clear Tuesday they were happy with the property tax bill being yoked to school finance. An attempt to pry them apart during the hours-long floor debate failed by a large margin, with only five lawmakers on record supporting it.In the meantime, another time crunch looms. Taylor has indicated the Senate’s long-term school property tax relief proposals will only be viable if lawmakers also find a sufficient revenue source to make up for lost local tax revenue. Currently, there’s a blank space where the revenue source should be in the bill.State leaders, including Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, have backed a proposal to increase the sales tax one percentage point and use that revenue for tax relief.Legislation that would do that, House Joint Resolution 3, was presented in the House Ways and Means Committee last month but has not yet been voted out. It would give Texans the chance to approve the sales tax swap.Time is running out for the House to move that forward. House bills and joint resolutions must get on the lower chamber’s calendar by the end of next Tuesday and must be voted out by the end of next Thursday.The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Many details of the bill still need to be ironed out, however, and committee members voted Wednesday without an official analysis of how their districts would fare financially. Still, the vote seemed to address concerns that the Senate was moving too slowly on school finance.“I know you’d rather not have to vote on this today. I certainly appreciate your help in moving this forward,” Taylor told the committee in the Senate chamber Wednesday. “This is a process. Frankly, what we pass off the floor on Friday is not the end of the day.”Many committee members expressed disappointment at having to take a vote without being prepared. Their offices received the newest version of the bill just after 8 p.m. Tuesday.With arms folded across his chest, State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, declined to vote for the bill, pointing out that there was no agreed-upon way to fund it long-term and that it still had “clear errors.” He marked himself as “present, not voting,” along with state Sens. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, and Bob Hall, R-Edgewood. The Senate Education Committee held a hastily arranged hearing Wednesday morning to vote out comprehensive school finance reform legislation — accelerating the bill’s journey to the Senate floor and eventual negotiations with the lower chamber.The fast-tracked revision and vote on House Bill 3 came the day after House lawmakers voted through a property tax reform bill, making it contingent on school finance reform passing this session. State Sen. Larry Taylor, the Senate Education Committee’s chair, had originally told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday he did not anticipate a committee vote on school finance until Thursday or next week.The full Senate is now expected to vote Friday on the legislation, which aims to increase the base funding for each Texas student, increase teacher pay, provide money for full-day pre-K for low-income students, and allow for long-term property tax relief.
Deloitte, the accountancy firm that is conducting Woolies’ administration, said that it had received “more than a dozen inquiries”, with interest coming from raft of rival retailers, private equity firms and individuals.Naghshineh, a property entrepreneur who owns London’s Centrepoint building, is this weekend thought to be putting together a deal team and a financing package. His plan to resurrect the fortunes of Woolies includes the disposal of key leases to rival retailers that would yield around £150m and the sale of the retailer’s stake in 2Entertainment, a DVD publisher, to the BBC.Alongside Naghshineh, John Moulton, the outspoken founder of Alchemy Partners who has expressed an interest in the struggling retailer in the past, is also thought to have registered his interest.Independent on Sunday, Financial Times
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A graduate of the University of Akron, Spencer Davies has amassed multiple years of experience as a freelance journalist, as well as sports talk radio. Currently, he contributes to the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com as a part-time beat reporter for the Akron RubberDucks, a Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate. He also writes for Indians Baseball Insider on SCOUT.com, and his works have been published on FOXSportsOhio.com and FanSided. By Spencer DaviesAfter a quarter and a half, it was a game at Memorial Stadium.Until the third-ranked Buckeyes decided to kick into gear.J.T. Barrett made his first start since October 24th and even though he wasn’t spectacular, it looked as if he didn’t miss a beat.From the opening drive, Ohio State’s offense looked more in sync than it did during the entirety of last weekend’s game against Minnesota. It was fast-paced, smooth and natural looking.However, the Bucks were stuffed at the goal line and couldn’t even manage a field goal.On the following possession, it would only take three plays and 56 seconds for Barrett to put Ohio State on the board with a 24-yard connection to Michael Thomas–who had his fourth straight game with a touchdown catch–in the corner of the end zone.But Barrett ran into some trouble again, as the Bucks were forced to punt the next two drives. He even fumbled the next time he got onto the field, giving Illinois some momentum with 5:40 left in the first half trailing 7-3.Yet the Illini couldn’t capitalize on the costly mistake. Taylor Zalewski missed a 50-yard field goal after the Buckeyes didn’t allow Illinois to budge just past midfield.After two straight three-and-outs by both teams, Ohio State got the ball in solid field position at their 40-yard line with 1:38 to go in the half.Barrett hit Jalin Marshall for 23 yards on the very first play of the drive to kick start the stagnant Buckeye offense. Then, on 4th and 11 after a false start by Chase Farris, the redshirt sophomore swung the momentum of the game with a 16-yard pickup on the ground to advance Ohio State to the Illinois 22.Following an 11-yard pass to Curtis Samuel and a holding call on the Illini, Barrett took it in himself to put the Buckeyes up 14-3 at half.Ohio State wouldn’t look back.Ezekiel Elliot had his usual outburst, as he scored both of his touchdowns in the second half. The junior Heisman candidate finished with 181 yards–extending his streak of consecutive 100-yard games to 15.Barrett finished 15-of-23 for 150 yards and a touchdown with an interception, as well as 74 yards on the ground with a score.Ohio State’s defense dominated the entire game, accounting for three sacks and two forced fumbles. After they ran for 382 total yards against Purdue last weekend, the Illini could only muster up 20 yards on the ground.The Buckeyes now enter the toughest part of their schedule at 10-0 (6-0), heading into a matchup with the 13th ranked Spartans next week and #14 Michigan awaiting in Ann Arbor the following. Related Topics Spencer Davies
Eric Jamison/Invision/APTaylor Swift just took another step toward world domination: She has officially infiltrated the IndyCar circuit.This weekend at the at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, former Indy 500 champion Tony Kanaan will drive the No. 10 Taylor Swift Chevrolet, which features photos of Swift and art from her 1989 album. The car is part of a promotion with Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, and is in conjunction with her 1989 World Tour show in Detroit on Saturday.Kanaan said in a press release that he wishes to be as successful as Swift this weekend.“I’m hoping that some of Taylor’s luck we saw last weekend at the Billboard Music Awards will carry over with me into our doubleheader in Detroit.”We feel you, Tony. We feel you.