Texas

Governor Abbott Leans On House To Pass Property Tax Relief

Abbott’s endorsement of Senate Bill 2 gives teeth to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s threat to force the Legislature into special session, unless the House passes the original Senate property tax reform bill.

Governor Greg Abbott has thrown his weight behind the Senate’s version of the property tax relief bill.

Speaking at a signing ceremony in The Woodlands for an unrelated bill, the governor said that any property tax bill reaching his desk has to include two things. First, it must lower the rollback tax rate – that is, the maximum rate by which a local government can increase property taxes. That could slow the growth of property tax bills. Second, it must trigger automatic elections if a local government seeks to raise taxes beyond that cap. That puts future tax increases in the hands of the voters.

Senate Bill 2, as passed by the Senate, would lower the rollback tax rate to 5 percent from the current 8 percent cap. It would also provide for automatic elections. The House Ways and Means Committee stripped out both provisions when it took up SB 2.

“Without Senate Bill 2 as passed by the Senate being considered by the full House,” Abbott said, “there will be no property tax relief coming out of the 85th Legislature.”

Abbott’s statement strengthens the hand of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. Last week, Patrick threatened to force the Legislature to go to a special session, unless the House passed both property tax reform and a version of the bathroom bill. Only the governor can call a special session, but House leaders appear to be taking the threat seriously. The House passed the bathroom bill as an amendment Sunday evening.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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