News Roundup: Sales Tax Collections Are Up, Meaning More Revenue For Local Governments

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 8, 2018 2:53 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Wednesday that local governments across the state will receive $670.9 million in monthly sales tax revenue. These allocations are based on sales made in January by businesses that report tax monthly.

Hegar says that the allocations this March are roughly 8 percent higher than for the same time last year. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that Waco, for example, is getting a rebate that is 1.53 percent more than in March of 2017.

Altogether, Texas cities will receive $431.4 million, counties will get $41.9 million, and transit systems will get $150.5 million.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says growth in the regional economy slowed over the last six weeks but still expanded at a “moderate” pace.

The Dallas Fed’s economic activity report out Wednesday highlighted bright spots in the manufacturing and energy sectors. Petroleum and manufactured goods exports with the region’s biggest trading partner, Mexico, were the main drivers for growth. Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said President Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports could hamper future gains.

“Our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada is critical to U.S. relationships and U.S. jobs. I’m concerned we’re in the middle of a trade negotiation with both countries, this could have some chilling effect,” Kaplan said.

President Trump is expected to formally impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum soon.

A tree-clearing crew in Collin County Wednesday found a human skeleton close to where police once searched for a missing woman.

From KETR in Commerce, Scott Morgan has more.

The Collin County Sheriff’s Office says it does not yet know whether the remains are male or female. But the skeleton was found near Taylor Boulevard and Mesquite Lane in Anna, where police once searched for Cristina Morris. Morris was last seen in 2014.

The 23-year-old disappeared after being spotted in a Plano parking garage with Enrique Arochi that August. In 2016, Arochi was convicted of kidnapping after police found Morris’ DNA in the trunk of his car. Police are not saying the skeleton is Morris’, but several news outlets report that deputies contacted Morris’ family.

Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to extend Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) for Hurricane Harvey victims.

The program helps people who have been displaced find short-term shelter in hotels, for example. The deadline has been extended from March 13 to April 23 for about 5,500 households. Governor Abbott also said, “It is tragic that so many Texas families are still unable to return home after Harvey.”

Disaster victims with questions regarding their TSA program eligibility or status can contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

Women around the world are taking to the streets and demanding equality during today’s International Women’s Day from Spain to South Korea.

In Austin, local activists will be marking the day with music at an event appropriately named ATX Celebrates International Women’s Day 2018. Several world music artists, including Julie Slim and Leti Garza, are set to perform. The celebration of International Women’s Day dates back to 1911 – and has been a day for organizing and action ever since.