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Rainy Day Fund, and Texas Wildfires: Monday’s Show (March 27, 2017)

The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association recently released a report exploring the creation and original purpose of the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, better known as the “rainy day fund.” The report includes the history of the fund and analysis of how it has been used in the budget process over the past 30 years. On […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public MediaThe Texas Taxpayers and Research Association recently released a report exploring the creation and original purpose of the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, better known as the “rainy day fund.” The report includes the history of the fund and analysis of how it has been used in the budget process over the past 30 years.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we take a look at the history of the state’s Rainy Day Fund with Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association.

Also this hour…

Texas Wildfires

Early this month, the Texas Panhandle was hit by three large wildfires that covered hundreds of square miles, causing five deaths with two more in other states and considerable loss of property and livestock. While, the number of wildfires in the US fluctuates from year to year, the number of acres burned in these fires is on the rise — with more than 10 million acres burned in 2015, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center.

We talk with Tom Spencer, the head of the Predictive Services Department for the Texas A&M Forest Service, about how fires like this get started and where and how Texas might be at risk for them in the future.

Mexican-American studies

Later this week (March 31-April 1, 2017), educators will meet for a conference on implementing Mexican-American studies in Texas public schools. HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza will speak on Friday (March 31). On Saturday (April 1), local educators who currently teach some Mexican-American studies courses will discuss what they cover. National experts on ethnic studies in public schools will also be on hand. To tell us more, we talk with Lorenzo Cano, associate director of the UH Center for Mexican American Studies, which is organizing the conference.

Sports Monday

What was billed as a showdown between MVP candidates did not disappoint. But James Harden and the Houston Rockets’ dominant 137-125 win over Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday (March 26, 2017) did reveal a contrast in styles and depth. We discuss the game, the MVP race — and other developments in Houston sports — with Jeff Balke, who writes for Houston Press and Houstonia Magazine.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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