Stand-off continues in Texas Legislature over property taxes

Texas Capitol
Photo credit DenisTangneyJr/GettyImages

The special session in Austin continues as the Texas House and Senate continue a stand-off over property taxes.

The Texas House passed a bill and adjourned May 31. The House bill would not expand the homestead exemption but would reduce property tax rates.

"40 leading homeowner, consumer, & business groups support my plan to put Texans on the pathway to ELIMINATE school property taxes. My plan, which the House passed, is the only current proposal that provides lasting property tax relief for ALL Texans," Governor Greg Abbott tweeted this week.

By adjourning after the bill's passage, the House required the Senate to pass the measure as-is. The Texas House cannot return for a conference committee after adjourning without Abbott calling another special session.

In the Texas Senate, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has said he would not exclude a homestead exemption. The Senate's plan would increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000.

"People understand that," says State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas). "Having a narrative that's easily understood is more advantageous to people understanding exactly what a property tax exemption is going to mean."

West says the two chambers may disagree on how to achieve the goal, but both chambers and members of both parties are trying to achieve the same thing.

"We've got to appreciate people having different opinions and different perspectives, but in the end, we've got to come together and provide property tax relief to people in the State of Texas," he says.

West was in Arlington Thursday for the announcement General Motors would spend $500 million to expand its plant.

"More investment from General Motors here in Arlington is a great opportunity. That's why I wanted to make sure I was here to help celebrate this moment," he says. "I graduated from UT Arlington. I got my masters from UT Arlington. I watched Arlington grow, and I'm now fortunate to represent a part of Arlington."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: DenisTangneyJr/GettyImages