Grading the Texas Legislature’s second Special Session: F for failing to provide property tax relief

Grading the Texas Legislature’s second Special Session: F for failing to provide property tax relief

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Austin, September 7 – The Texas Legislature’s second Special Session adjourned on Thursday, September 2, 2021, without passing meaningful property tax relief, even though the two special sessions had begun with promises by Speaker of the House Dade Phelan and Lieutenant Government Dan Patrick that Texans had the best opportunity in many years for meaningful property tax cuts. Both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate adjourned without such legislation, but they very carefully passed a legislative appropriations bill, House Bill 5, unanimously to fund their staffs and their own pay.

According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, property taxes have risen just under 200% in the last 20 years. At the beginning of the first Special Session on July 8, Speaker Phelan said, “The comptroller updated his biannual revenue estimate with an additional $7.5 billion that can be used for property tax relief or other items that the governor is seeing fit.”

State Representative James White, Republican of Hillister, added, “”The ability to acquire, own, develop, and dispose of real property is a cornerstone aspect of free societies…The Texas property tax is the most existential threat to our culture of rugged individualism and free market economics. Instead of saving and acquiring property, too many of our young people openly are advocating for socialism because they do not see themselves as having ‘skin in the game.’ Successful property tax relief is meaningful, measurable, and maintainable.”

Of federal funds of $16 million allocated to the State of Texas from the so-called federal “stimulus” legislation and of the $7.5 billion in surplus taxes the State itself collected, legislators couldn’t find one penny to give Texans meaningful property tax relief by “compression” of local taxes or otherwise.

State Representative Richard Raymond, Democrat of Laredo, had promised he would introduce legislation to allow Texans to vote in November on a $5 billion school property tax cut from which the funds would come from the state’s surplus. Raymond, however, became too focused on breaking the quorum in the Texas House and never introduced the legislation in either Special Session.

In addition to voting to fund themselves in House Bill 5, which passed both houses of the Texas Legislature unanimously, the Legislature approved $1.88 billion in border security funding by a 23 to 8 vote in the Texas Senate on September 1 and an 85 to 36 vote in the House on August 30.

In addition to the failure to pass property tax relief, other priorities of Governor Greg Abbott, which failed in both Special Sessions, included legislation to restrict sports teams on which “transgender” students can play, changing quorum rules for the Texas Legislature to prevent walkouts in the future, and banning mask and vaccine mandates in public schools.

 

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