The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
A giant gator has been released near a lake, after being captured along a highway north of Houston early Monday morning.
Chance Ward helped authorities wrangle the nearly 12-foot alligator in Cleveland, Texas. He posted a video on Facebook of the gator he dubbed George, crawling out of a truck and toward the water’s edge.
“George is being released, going back into the wild…George has a pretty lake here and I’m sure he’ll go find him a pretty woman,” Ward says.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Ward, a Tarkington cowboy, also rescued cattle and horses during Hurricane Harvey.
Law enforcement called Ward in to catch the alligator, which was just a short distance from a Whataburger.
Ward joked on Facebook, “Only in Texas will you get a gator and Whataburger in the same picture.”
The U.S. Department of Education has announced almost $700 million in disaster aid for schools in Texas, Puerto Rico and California.
The vast majority of that money will go to Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria. the Texas Education Agency will receive almost $90 million and the rest will go to California, ravaged by wildfires last summer.
The money is called K-12 Restart. And state education officials will distribute the money to districts so they can continue to recover and create normal learning environments. If needed, Texas schools can ask for more disaster aid in the future.
The Texas Tax Amnesty Program, which is run by the State Comptroller’s Office, starts Tuesday. And almost all of the state and local taxes and fees the comptroller administers are eligible.
“This is giving delinquent taxpayers a chance to wipe the slate clean and pay the taxes that they owe – and again these have to be taxes that were due before January 1 of this year,” says Kevin Lyons, a spokesperson with the agency. “So this is the perfect opportunity for you to get in compliance, maybe you forgot to get a sales tax permit or you inadvertently underreported taxes you owed, you don’t have to give us any excuses, you can participate in the amnesty program and make things right with the state of Texas.”
This is the first time the comptroller’s office is running the program since 2012. Lyons explains that the state legislature decided to bring it back last year.
“It was part of Senate Bill 1 which required the Comptroller of Public Accounts to establish this Tax Amnesty program,” Lyons says.
Lyons says the agency expects the program will bring in millions of dollars.
“We estimate that we will, this will, net the state of Texas about $55 million in Texas that were either underreported or not paid at all,” he says.
The tax amnesty program ends on June 29.