Land tax relief, not yet on special session agenda, appears on fast track in State Senate – Houston Public Media



Texas State Capitol

Property tax relief is not activated Governor Greg Abbott’s Agenda for this year’s third special legislative session, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is stepping up the pressure to get it through anyway.

One measure – which would use a state tax surplus to reduce property tax bills for the 2022-2023 school year – has been named as Senate Bill 1 by Patrick. The measure would provide at least $ 2 billion in funding to independent school districts, in return for which CIOs would cut homeowner tax rates by about 3.3 cents. For example, the owner of a home with an assessed value of $ 300,000 would see their tax bill reduced by $ 100.

State Senator Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, is the author of the bill.

“I think there needs to be property tax relief,” Bettencourt said. “What I have been advocating for 20 years or more (is) that if you have excess funds, at least some should go to taxpayers.”

An identical bill was passed by the Senate in the second extraordinary session by 29 votes to 2, but later died in the House. The new measure appears to be on the fast track in the Senate during this extraordinary session, with a finance committee passing the bill by a 14-0 vote on Tuesday and a possible floor vote before the end of the week.

House Speaker Dade Phelan has this time indicated his support for the bill. However, if the governor does not put the bill on the agenda before the end of the special session, it risks being derailed on a point of order from the Democrats when it reaches the lower house.

“I would expect that, in the interests of the House and the Senate, as well as, I think, the obvious interest of taxpayers in the state, this would be something the Governor would likely consider. But it was. is up to him to decide, “says Bettencourt.

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, said the low number in the bill was significant.

“What Patrick is pointing out is that while it may not be on the Governor’s Special Session agenda at the moment, he would like it to be on the agenda as soon as possible, ”Jones said.

Jones noted that Patrick was successful in pushing the governor to add items to the agendas of previous special sessions by stating a list of his own priorities. One of the most notable elements of this year has been a bill to restrict transgender student athletes, a measure that died in previous special sessions but was resurrected for the third special session.

“This (property tax reform) is, I think, an area where Patrick has decided it is a top priority for him,” Jones said, “He’s going to do whatever he can. power to ensure that – before the end of the special session in mid-October – that this item was not only added to the agenda, but that it was withdrawn from the Senate and this time from bedroom.”

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