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Week in Review: A Digest of What Happened This Week at the Capitol

​TAC on the Lege — Weekly Video Series​

​​We've launched a new video podcast as another tool to help you navigate the twists and turns of this special legislative session.

​TAC on the Lege — It’s a sine die celebration. Today we’ll take a look at SB 1, HB 21 and how this dyspeptic special session ground to a halt a day earlier than planned. Then we’ll talk about how officials must take the message forward on the essential, bare-bones government counties provide, and the real paths to lasting property tax reform and relief. ​
Week in Review: A Digest of What Happened This Week at the Capitol​​

The Week Behind Us - The first called session of the 85th Legislature came to an end Tuesday afternoon, when the House adjourned sine die and the Senate followed suit some hours later.

The House had taken up the school finance bill, HB 21 and there were questions regarding the extensive changes the Senate had made to a House bill that originally put $1.8 billion in state dollars back into public education. The bill’s author, Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), told the chamber the bill was much changed by the Senate but moved to accept the changes, noting there were parts worth saving. Other members noted that, absent a significant infusion of state funds into public education, any other promises of property tax relief were misleading, at best.

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) told the body he would not move to appoint house conferees to SB 1, leaving it to the Senate to accept or reject a 6 percent rollback rate and an automatic rollback election for entities collecting more than $25 million in M&O taxes, along with the transparency and taxpayer information elements found in the regular session’s SB 669 and the called session’s HB 32. The House subsequently adjourned sine die.

Not long after this, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and SB 1 author Sen. Paul Bettencourt publicly berated the House and the speaker for not adopting the Senate’s version of the bill, arguing it provided “real” property tax relief. But even the casual observer knows the only way property tax relief can happen is if the state addresses the growing imbalance between local and state public school funding. The steady decline in the state’s share places the pressure on the public school taxes paid by local property owners. House leadership and members have acknowledged this fact; the Senate has not.

For an update on all the items placed on the call by the governor, click here. ​  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​