The Texas Tribune: Joshua Fechterhttps://www.texastribune.org/about/staff/joshua-fechter/The latest news by Joshua Fechter.enTue, 11 Jun 2024 05:00:00 -0500With new platform, Texas Democrats may find common ground with Republicans on housing affordability crisishttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/06/11/texas-democrats-platform-housing-affordability-crisis/The Democrats’ recently approved platform includes calls to loosen zoning rules, which housing experts believe contribute to high housing costs.By Joshua FechterTue, 11 Jun 2024 05:00:00 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/06/11/texas-democrats-platform-housing-affordability-crisis/An apartment complex in downtown Waco on Feb. 26, 2019.An apartment complex in downtown Waco on Feb. 26, 2019.Emree Weaver/The Texas TribuneAustin enacts sweeping reforms to cut down housing costshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/16/austin-lot-size-housing-affordability/City leaders and advocates hope reducing the size of lots used to build homes will increase housing supply.By Joshua FechterFri, 17 May 2024 14:08:36 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/16/austin-lot-size-housing-affordability/An attendee listens and takes notes during an Austin City Council meeting on Thursday. People testified for and against zoning reforms meant to address the city's housing affordability crisis. Council members approved the reform package Friday.An attendee listens and takes notes as people testify during an Austin city council meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Austin. Attendees spent hours at Austin City Hall as the council went through numerous testimonies.Maria Crane/The Texas TribuneDade Phelan directs House leaders to revisit vouchers, property taxes in the next legislative sessionhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/08/dade-phelan-texas-house-interim-charges/The Beaumont Republican issued his interim charges even as it remains unclear whether he’ll be reelected.By Joshua Fechter and Robert DownenWed, 08 May 2024 14:54:52 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/08/dade-phelan-texas-house-interim-charges/House Speaker Dade Phelan speaks with other representatives during a special legislative session at the state capitol in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 17, 2023.House Speaker Dade Phelan speaks with other represenatives during a special legislative session at the state capitol in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 17, 2023.Julius Shieh/The Texas TribuneTexans get their first crack at electing the people overseeing the state’s complicated property appraisal processhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/03/texas-property-appraisal-district-board-elections/In the state’s larger counties, voters can now elect people to the agencies that appraise property values.By Joshua Fechter, Jess Huff and Yuriko SchumacherFri, 03 May 2024 05:00:00 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/03/texas-property-appraisal-district-board-elections/Texans in more populous counties are electing appraisal district board members for the first time. Appraisal districts determine property values, a figure that helps determine tax bills.Some Texans will soon have a say in who sits on their tax appraisal boards.Callaghan O'Hare for The Texas TribuneTexas Republicans have tried to rein in property taxes for five years. Has it worked?https://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/26/texas-property-tax-cuts-analysis/Texas has spent billions of dollars to drive down property taxes. Many homeowners saw a significant tax cut last year, per a Texas Tribune analysis.By Joshua Fechter and Andrew ParkFri, 26 Apr 2024 05:00:00 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/26/texas-property-tax-cuts-analysis/An aerial view of homes near Interstate 45 in Houston, on Sept. 16, 2019.An aerial view of homes near Interstate 45 in Houston, on Sept. 16, 2019.Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneHarris County prosecutor hands criminal case into Lina Hidalgo’s staffers over to state attorney generalhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/25/kim-ogg-harris-county-lina-hidalgo-attorney-general/Hidalgo’s staffers were indicted on felony charges related to how they allegedly helped award an $11 million contract to a political consulting firm headed by a Democratic strategist.By Joshua FechterThu, 25 Apr 2024 14:36:15 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/25/kim-ogg-harris-county-lina-hidalgo-attorney-general/Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg speaks during a press conference regarding alleged corruption in Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s staff, at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Houston on Thursday, April 25, 2024.Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg speaks during a press conference regarding corruption in Lina Hidalgo’s staff at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center on Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Houston.Annie Mulligan for The Texas TribuneTexas Supreme Court temporarily blocks Harris County’s guaranteed income pilot programhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/23/texas-supreme-court-guaranteed-income/Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is challenging the program, saying it violates the Texas Constitution.By Joshua FechterTue, 23 Apr 2024 12:56:15 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/23/texas-supreme-court-guaranteed-income/The Texas Supreme Court granted on Tuesday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's request to temporarily halt payments under Harris County's guaranteed income pilot program.State Attorney General Ken Paxton holds a press conference at the Houston Recovery Center on October 26, 2021.Mark Felix for The Texas TribuneLt. Gov. Dan Patrick lists housing affordability, fighting antisemitism on campus among 2025 prioritieshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/11/dan-patrick-legislature-texas-priorities-housing-antisemitism/Examining charitable bail organizations and banning Delta 9 were also among Patrick’s priorities in the next legislative session.By Zach Despart and Joshua FechterThu, 11 Apr 2024 13:03:44 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/11/dan-patrick-legislature-texas-priorities-housing-antisemitism/Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick presides over on the Senate floor during the first day of the second special session at the state Capitol in Austin on June 28, 2023.Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick presides over on the Senate floor during the first day of the second special session at the state Capitol in Austin on June 28, 2023.Evan L'Roy/The Texas TribuneTexas AG Ken Paxton sues Harris County to block program that would give cash to poorest householdshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/09/texas-harris-county-guaranteed-income/The program would give roughly 1,900 households payments of $500 for 18 months with no strings attached. Paxton called it “plainly unconstitutional.”By Joshua FechterTue, 09 Apr 2024 13:23:33 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/04/09/texas-harris-county-guaranteed-income/The Houston skyline in November 2017.The Houston skyline in November, 2017.Callie Richmond for The Texas TribuneRepublicans’ budding interest in Texas’ housing crisis could create strange political bedfellowshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/27/texas-republicans-housing-affordability-zoning-land-use/Republican lawmakers may try to force Texas cities to allow greater housing density as the state faces a housing crunch.By Joshua FechterWed, 27 Mar 2024 19:33:01 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/27/texas-republicans-housing-affordability-zoning-land-use/Some Texas Republicans are warming up to the idea of reforming land-use rules in the state, which housing advocates believe get in the way of building more homes and contribute to the housing affordability crisis.An Aerial image of a suburban neighborhood in San Marcos on October 18, 2021.Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas TribuneWhy some Texas cities are getting rid of their minimum parking ruleshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/18/texas-cities-parking-rules-housing-climate/Most cities require homes and businesses to have parking. Critics say they drive up housing costs, foster car dependency and raise carbon emissions.By Joshua FechterMon, 18 Mar 2024 05:00:00 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/18/texas-cities-parking-rules-housing-climate/An apartment parking lot in East Austin on Saturday, March 16, 2024.An apartment parking lot in East Austin on Saturday, March 16, 2024.John Jordan/The Texas TribuneGov. Greg Abbott wants the Texas Legislature to rein in investors behind large-scale home purchaseshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/15/texas-greg-abbott-institutional-homebuyers/So-called institutional homebuyers noticeably ramped up home purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic. But housing experts point out investors have retreated amid high interest rates.By Joshua FechterFri, 15 Mar 2024 20:34:32 -0500https://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/15/texas-greg-abbott-institutional-homebuyers/A construction worker, who declined to give their name, rolls up hosing as they work on building a home at a new housing development in Odessa on March 12, 2022.A construction worker, who declined to give their name, rolls up hosing as they work on building a home at a new housing development Saturday, March 12, 2022 in Odessa, Texas.Eli Hartman for The Texas TribuneFacing staggering losses from wildfires, Panhandle ranchers and farmers seek aid to rebuildhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/05/panhandle-texas-farmers-ranchers-recovery/Ranchers have likely lost thousands of cattle in the wildfires, according to some preliminary estimates.By Joshua Fechter and Neelam BohraTue, 05 Mar 2024 21:05:40 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/05/panhandle-texas-farmers-ranchers-recovery/Christy Oats, left, talks at a U.S. Department of Agriculture informational meeting for farmers and ranchers affected by the Panhandle wildfires at the Hemphill County Exhibition Center in Canadian on March 5.Christy Oats, left, talks to the farmers and ranchers attending a USDA informational meeting at the Hemphill County Exhibition center in Canadian on March 5, 2024.Mark Rogers for The Texas TribuneMany homes burned in the Texas wildfires weren’t insured, creating a steep path to recoveryhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/04/texas-wildfires-homes-burned-recovery-insurance/Rural Texans are more than twice as likely to go without homeowners insurance than their urban peers.By Joshua FechterMon, 04 Mar 2024 19:54:31 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/03/04/texas-wildfires-homes-burned-recovery-insurance/A burned truck sits on lot in Fritch where a wildfire burned through. Areas behind the truck appear to be untouched.A burned truck sits on lot in Fritch where the fire went through while areas behind appear to be untouched Friday, March. 1, 2024.Justin Rex for The Texas TribuneDallas’ city manager resigns, leaving one more major Texas city without a chief executivehttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/21/dallas-city-manager-tc-broadnax-resigns/City Manager T.C. Broadnax resigned amid tensions with city leaders, including Mayor Eric Johnson. Three of Texas’ major cities — Dallas, Austin and El Paso — now have vacancies at the top of their local governments.By Joshua FechterWed, 21 Feb 2024 17:55:10 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/21/dallas-city-manager-tc-broadnax-resigns/Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax, right, during a City Council meeting on Aug. 9, 2017.Dallas City Manager, T.C. Broadnax, right, during a city council meeting on Aug. 9, 2017.Laura Buckman for The Texas TribuneAmid high rents, eviction filings in major Texas cities soar above pre-pandemic levelshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/16/texas-evictions-renters-housing-affordability/Legal aid groups and housing advocates say there simply aren’t enough lawyers to keep up with the sheer volume of eviction filings.By Joshua FechterFri, 16 Feb 2024 05:00:00 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/16/texas-evictions-renters-housing-affordability/A writ of possession is taped to the door of an apartment at the Life at Jackson Square apartments on April 11, 2023, in Houston.A writ of possession is taped to the door of an apartment at the Life at Jackson Square apartments on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Houston, TX.Annie Mulligan for The Texas TribuneIn long-shot bid for GOP nomination, Nikki Haley turns to Texashttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/15/nikki-haley-republican-presidential-primary/The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations faces a steep climb in Texas — where she hopes that the state’s deep-pocketed GOP donor class and open primary can help her pick away at Donald Trump.By Joshua FechterThu, 15 Feb 2024 21:19:21 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/15/nikki-haley-republican-presidential-primary/Presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks to supporters at a rally at South Side Music Hall on Feb. 15, 2024, in Dallas.DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 15, 2024: Nikki Haley, GOP presidential candidate, speaks to supporters at a rally at Gilley’s Dallas South Side Music on Thursday, February 16, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. CREDIT: Desiree Rios for The Texas TribuneDesiree Rios for The Texas TribuneTexas poised for slower job growth this year, Dallas Fed projectshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/09/texas-job-growth-2024/Falling consumer activity and uncertainty around the 2024 presidential election could complicate the state’s job growth, a Dallas Fed economist said.By Joshua FechterFri, 09 Feb 2024 14:00:06 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/09/texas-job-growth-2024/A view of Woodall Rodgers Freeway in downtown Dallas on Nov. 7.A view of Woodall Rodgers Freeway from The Tower Club on the 48th floor of the Santander Tower in downtown Dallas on Nov. 07, 2023.Ben Torres for The Texas TribuneTexans face a bigger burden than ever to pay rent, study findshttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/01/25/texas-housing-affordability-rent-cost-burden/More than half of the state’s 4.2 million renters spend at least 30% of their income on rent and utilities, according to a Harvard University report.By Joshua FechterThu, 25 Jan 2024 16:15:12 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/01/25/texas-housing-affordability-rent-cost-burden/The Mueller neighborhood in East Austin on Oct. 7, 2023.The Mueller neighborhood in East Austin on Oct. 7, 2023.John Jordan/The Texas TribuneHomelessness in Texas on the rise amid high housing costs, federal estimates showhttps://www.texastribune.org/2024/01/11/texas-homelessness-estimate/Homelessness rose last year across nearly every demographic group, but strides were made to connect people with new housing.By Joshua FechterThu, 11 Jan 2024 05:00:00 -0600https://www.texastribune.org/2024/01/11/texas-homelessness-estimate/The sun sets over the tops of tents at a homeless encampment on state-owned land in Austin on Jan. 18, 2021.The sun sets over the tops of tents at a homeless encampment on state-owned land in Austin on Jan. 18, 2021.Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune