Paul Burka

The dean of the Capitol press corps, senior executive editor Paul Burka joined the staff of Texas Monthly one year after the magazine’s founding, in 1973. For nearly forty years he has led the magazine’s political coverage and spearheaded its storied roundup of the Best and Worst Legislators each biennium. A lifelong Texan, he was born in Galveston, graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in history, and received a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

Burka is a member of the State Bar of Texas and spent five years as an attorney with the Texas Legislature, where he served as counsel to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Burka won a National Magazine Award for reporting excellence in 1985 and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and teaches at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a frequent guest discussing politics on national news programs on MSNBC, Fox, NBC, and CNN.


Opening Moves

Democrats have signaled their intention to offer an amendment to restore the education spending cuts made last session, which signals to everyone who is watching that the Democratic strategy is going to pretty much be this: make the Republicans pay for every bad vote.

Vouchers May be on Life Support

Earlier this week during a Texas Tribune event, Speaker Straus warned vouchers supporters in the Senate that a “divisive” bill would not be welcome in the House and might not reach a vote.

One Month Down . . .

Today marks the end of the first month of the 83rd Legislature. What have we learned during that time?

The Public Ed Debate Hits the Floor

House Democrats picked up a surprising ally Monday afternoon in their bid to persuade Republicans to join their quest for immediate action on restoring the cuts to public education: second-term Republican David Simpson.

Perry's California Dreaming

Rick Perry’s trip to California is not about recruiting businesses. It is about recruiting Republican donors in the Golden State — at state expense, no less, and with a large security detail.

The State of Taxes

Texas won’t get its financial house in order until lawmakers have a thoughtful conversation about the T-word. Don’t hold your breath.

Should the Gas Tax Be Increased?

Senator Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) has proposed paying for highway construction by increasing the gasoline tax. Empower Texans’ Michael Quinn Sullivan has slammed that idea, but he should explain why he believes is better to build highways with bonds than with taxes.

Patrick Bill Would Place Restrictions on the Use of Mifepristone; TMA has Reservations

Sen. Dan Patrick’s bill, which would require doctors to personally administer the two doses of the medication that induces abortion, is a dagger to the heart of the Republican party.

About That Fiscal Conservatism

With state debt hitting $40.9 billion, can Texas really be considered fiscally conservative?