Texas House Passes SB 2. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives gave its final approval to SB 2, the property tax reform package, after several hours of debate. As passed, the bill would require taxing units like cities, counties, and emergency services districts to hold an election to approve raising more than 3.5% more property tax revenue than the previous year. Other entities like hospitals and community college districts would be subject to an 8% cap. The House also added a provision allowing taxing units to increase their property tax levy by $500,000 without an election, intended to allow the purchase of large but infrequent capital expenditures. SB 2 passed the House 107-40 and will require negotiation with the Senate through a conference committee before being sent to the governor.
Senate Approves HB 3. The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday voted out HB 3, the House’s school finance reform plan which aims, among other goals, to increase per-student base funding, provide funds for increased teacher pay, increase the availability of full-day pre-K. Unlike the version that passed out of the House, the version approved by the Senate committee includes a $5,000 pay raise for all full-time teachers and librarians and provisions to tie some increased teacher pay to academic outcomes. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate on May 6th.
Leaders Push Tax Swap Plan. Today, Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen held a press conference to push a plan to increase the state sales tax by one cent to raise funds to offset lower school district rates and allow for lower property taxes. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved HJR 3, which would put a constitutional amendment to increase the sales tax to a public vote, and HB 4621, the enabling legislation that would actually enact the swap if it is approved. HJR 3 will need 100 votes in the House and 21 in the Senate before going to a public vote. Alternatively, lawmakers could choose to raise the sales tax through state law through a simple majority vote, rather than through the constitution.
Monday, May 6 is the last day for house committees to report house bills and house joint resolutions. May 7th is the last daily calendar with House bills.
Other upcoming dates of interest:
- Friday, May 10: Last day for the House to consider consent house bills on 2nd or 3rd reading and all 3rd reading house bills or house joint resolutions on the supplemental calendar.
- Friday, May 17: Last day for the House to consider local house bills on 2nd and 3rd reading, and the first day the Senate can consider bills and resolutions the first day they are posted.
- Saturday, May 18: Last day for house committees to report senate bills and joint resolutions.
- Tuesday, May 21: Last day for the House to consider 2nd reading senate bills and senate joint resolutions on the daily or supplemental calendar.
- Wednesday, May 22: Last day for the House to consider local and consent senate bills on 2nd and 3rd
- Sunday, May 26: Last day for the House and Senate to concur in amendments or adopt conference committee reports.
- Monday, May 27: Last day of 86th Regular Session (sine die).
For more information on the Texas Legislature, visit https://capitol.texas.gov/