LBJ School

Welcome to the Texas Capitol

The opinions herein reflect those of the author and in no way represent those of the Legislative Budget Board of Texas.

If you haven’t been to the Capitol yet, I urge you to visit. Built from 1882-1888 out of Texas pink[1] granite, it was the tallest building in America at the time. It loomed over what was then the small town of Austin, population approximately 14,000, and would remain Austin’s tallest building until 1972.[2] When the sun is shining, it practically glows.

As you walk from the Capitol to the Bullock Museum[3] on this initial tourism foray, you’ll pass a series of big, square government buildings that contain the State’s various agencies. They’re named after people who, if you’re not from Texas, you probably haven’t heard of: William B. Travis, Robert E. Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson[4], Stephen F. Austin, John H. Reagan, and Texas W. Commission.

I am interning in one of these buildings at the Legislative Budget Board (LBB),  which is not technically an agency but undertakes budget analysis and evaluation year-round. Audit, evaluation, and budgeting internships are fairly common for policy school students, and after a few weeks here I’m beginning to see why: this is precisely the type of job our core curriculum prepares us for. Working at the LBB, you perform statistical and qualitative analyses of policy and management, write carefully formatted reports and memos, regularly face public finance issues, work extensively in teams, and use acronyms constantly. That’s IEM, PFM, PM, PD, and PRP in a nutshell.

It’s no small wonder, then, that so many LBJ graduates work here. There are something like 150 employees at the LBB and at least 30 went to LBJ. I met three people on my first day who I knew from LBJ social events, not even counting my fellow intern Erin McManus who was in my PFM and PM classes.

Everyone so far has been super-friendly, which is very helpful considering how easy it is to get lost in the building. The LBB offices are essentially two giant hallways in an L shape that look almost identical. Because there aren’t many features in these halls to tell you which one you’re in or what direction you’re facing, the only real trick to getting around is to wander aimlessly with a distraught look on your face until someone gives you directions out of pity.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve started, so fortunately I’m starting to get the hang of navigating the place. As for what I actually do here, well, I think I’ll save that for my next blog post. To be continued. . .

[1] The official name is “red” granite, but let’s not kid ourselves.

[2] Until it was surpassed by the Dobie Center. Seriously. The Dobie Center. That is a true fact.

[3] Named after Bob Bullock, not “Bullock” as in “old-timey word for cow”. Sadly.

[4] Okay, maybe you’ve heard of this guy

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