Last week’s Legislative recap…property taxes and other news you can use

  • Texas Secretary of State has finally apologized for issuing a premature press release saying 96,000 Texas voters were registered illegally.  However,  The Texas Tribune reports that though he regrets the way in which he launched the review, he still intends to investigate potential voter fraud.  His confirmation vote in the Senate Nominations Committee, which was set for February 14th, has been postponed.  He has until the end of session to be confirmed or Governor Abbott will have to replace him.
  • There’s been a lot of talk this session about reducing property taxes, but no one is really talking about where the money will come from—some estimate that meaningful tax relief and the end to school finance recapture would cost $6-7 billion dollars. Finally, Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) floated out a proposal this week. He’s considering getting rid of some sales tax exemptions.
  • SB 2 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) has passed out of the Property Tax Committee.  The bill aims to reduce budget growth at local levels by creating an automatic roll-back election if taxes were raised by 2.5% or more.  The Lt. Governor needs 19 Senators to agree to bring the bill to the floor.  Presently, he does not have the votes.  In fact, Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) told the Austin American-Statesman that he opposes the measure, saying as written, it “truly undermines local control because those rates are as sensitive as taxpayers are.” Speaking of SB 2, here are a couple more articles outlining the problems with this proposal: San Antonio Business Journal and Dallas Morning News