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Property Tax And School Voucher Moved Quickly In Texas Senate, But House May Say Not So Fast

The House has repeatedly voted against vouchers, and in the regular session they did not even take a vote on the property tax measure.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a rally in support of so-called school choice, at the Texas Capitol in January.

The Texas Legislature’s 30-day special session is moving through an ambitious agenda at a rapid-fire pace, at least in the Senate.

Two significant pieces of legislation received preliminary approval in the Senate on Monday. The first: a provision that would restrict local officials from raising property taxes more than four percent above the year before without a public vote. The second provides a voucher for special needs students to receive financial assistance for private-school tuition.

Austin Bureau Chief for the San Antonio Express-News, Peggy Fikac, says while restricting property tax increases is usually appealing to homeowners, it can have a negative affect on municipal and county services. And opponents of the voucher worry it will take away funding for special education in public schools.

So far, the measures have only progressed in the Senate. Fikac says the future of these bills is uncertain in the House.

“That’s the big question,” Fikac says. “At best they face an uncertain future. The House has repeatedly voted against vouchers, and in the regular session they did not even take a vote on the [property tax measure].”

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