Bob Sechler, Austin American-Statesman

Bob Sechler

Austin American-Statesman

Austin, TX, United States

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Recent articles by Bob:

Lawsuit aims to keep Texas Teacher Retirement System’s Indeed Tower lease under wraps

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas describes itself as committed to public transparency and says it’s no longer trying to prevent disclosure of the full terms of its multimillion-dollar office lease in the luxury Indeed Tower high-rise under construction in downtown Austin.But that hasn’t stopped a development company in which the taxpayer-funded retirement system has a big financial stake… → Read More

Coronavirus in Texas: Manufacturers hurting amid economic deep freeze

Economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to hammer the manufacturing sector, with Texas factory output plunging to its lowest level → Read More

Coronavirus in Austin: SXSW sued over no-refund policy after cancellation

The company that puts on Austin’s internationally acclaimed South by Southwest festival is being sued over its no-refund policy, after the annual event was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Travis County on behalf of two people who said they each spent more than $1,000 on entry fees to attend but were denied refunds. It… → Read More

Coronavirus in Texas: Job losses continue to mount

The hemorrhage of jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic is showing no signs of stemming, with another 280,000 Texans filing first-time claims for → Read More

Coronavirus in Central Texas: New confirmed case in Caldwell County brings total to 6

Caldwell County has confirmed a new case of COVID-19, the disease linked to the coronavirus, bringing the total known cases in the county to six, according to officials.The county’s emergency management agency urged residents to “do their part to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 cases” in a written statement on the county’s website.Officials said residents can do so “by staying home,… → Read More

Coronavirus in Central Texas: New confirmed case in Bastrop County brings total to 27

A new case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Bastrop County, bringing the total known cases in the county to 27, according to officials.Another 310 → Read More

Abbott extends coronavirus disaster declaration in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott has extended a coronavirus-related disaster declaration for all Texas counties that he first issued a month ago, a measure aimed at securing more resources for the state to fight the pandemic."We are ensuring the state of Texas continues to have adequate resources and capabilities to support our communities and protect public health," Abbott said in a written statement Sunday.He… → Read More

Coronavirus in Texas: Idle rental cars sitting bumper-to-bumper in parking lots

If you find yourself needing to rent a car during the ongoing global pandemic, there are plenty to choose from.Hundreds of idle rental cars are parked → Read More

Coronavirus in Texas: Jobless claims soar amid crisis

About 276,000 out-of-work Texans filed for unemployment benefits last week, raising the total making initial claims at more than 430,000 in just the past → Read More

Coronavirus crisis hammers Texas service, retail sectors

The coronavirus hasn’t been choosy when it comes to which parts of the economy it pummels.New data for March from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas → Read More

As coronavirus impact spreads, oil price slide to bite Texas economy

The global effort to curtail the coronavirus by limiting travel, canceling events and closing schools and businesses may well prove effective, but it’s a remedy that’s torpedoing prices for a traditional staple of the Texas economy — oil.The price per barrel of oil has slumped by more than half over the past month — and it fell below $21 earlier this week for the first time in 18 years — as… → Read More

Loss of SXSW a gut punch for some Austin businesses

For Austin’s downtown hospitality sector, the annual South by Southwest festival has become the financial equivalent of Christmas, Hanukkah and Black Friday rolled into a 10-day whirlwind each March.That makes the cancellation of this year’s event a huge economic blow for many businesses in the area, with one business owner saying that calling off the event is "completely and utterly… → Read More

SXSW pledges future credit if you bought a badge this year

Organizers of the 2020 South by Southwest festival, which was canceled by city officials Friday because of coronavirus fears, plan to allow people who → Read More

SXSW canceled over virus fears

The South by Southwest festival, an iconic Austin event that annually attracts more than 100,000 music fans, technology buffs and pop culture enthusiasts → Read More

SXSW canceled over coronavirus fears

The South by Southwest festival, which attracts more than 100,000 music fans, technology buffs and pop culture enthusiasts to downtown Austin each March, → Read More

Despite solid February, virus fears nag Texas manufacturing

Apprehension about the coronavirus is seeping into the Texas manufacturing sector, even as the latest barometer of factory output in the state points to → Read More

Austin man indicted in alleged investment scam

An Austin man previously accused of being “a top revenue producer” in a nationwide Ponzi scheme that fleeced investors out of more than $1 billion has been indicted on felony counts of fraud, theft and money laundering by a Travis County grand jury.Brett Pittsenbargar, 47, was arrested Wednesday morning and booked into the Travis County jail. He faces five to 99 years or life in prison if… → Read More

Travis appraisal decision creates budget woes for schools

Millions of dollars for Austin-area schools are potentially in jeopardy in the wake of this week’s abrupt announcement that residential property values in the fast-growing region won’t be reappraised this year, throwing budget planning efforts into disarray and spurring calls for intervention by the Legislature."It would create a hole in the budget that there is no way we would have… → Read More

Proposed Medicaid change could hurt Texas hospitals, health advocates say

Cash-strapped rural Texas hospitals have been closing at an alarming rate already, but health care advocates are warning that the trend likely will accelerate under a proposed rule change for federal Medicaid funding that’s also forecast to deal big financial blows to hospitals in urban areas like Austin.Statewide, the Texas Hospital Association estimates that up to $11 billion in annual federal… → Read More

Bank of America CEO: Austin economy 'growing and active‘

Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan, in Austin this week for a meeting of the company’s top leaders from around the globe, added his voice to the view that the local economy is likely to remain solid in 2020 and continue outstripping U.S. growth overall.“The United States has slowed down a little bit,” Moynihan said, noting that Bank of America economists are forecasting a 1.7% uptick… → Read More