Texas State Capitol

Updated at 3:50 p.m. Wednesday

A new property tax relief bill has already passed in the Texas Senate just hours after Governor Greg Abbott added it to the agenda for the Third Special Session of the Legislature of Texas Wednesday.

The measure – which would use a state tax surplus to reduce property tax bills for the 2022-2023 school year – was named Senate Bill 1 by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday. The measure would provide at least $ 2 billion in funding to independent school districts, in return for which CIOs would cut homeowner tax rates by about 6.6 cents. For example, the owner of a home with an assessed value of $ 300,000 would see his tax bill reduced by $ 200.

“Senate Bill 1 follows the straightforward principle that as the Texas economy grows and the state receives surplus revenue, a portion must first be returned to taxpayers because it is their money, “Patrick said in a press release after the bill was passed. “It means a quantum shift in the way we think about spending our excess dollars. Texas homeowners must receive tax relief before we incur any further expenses. I thank Senator Bettencourt for his continued leadership on this critical issue.

Abbott, who has sole discretion over items to be put on the agenda, announced its addition along with an item proposing a constitutional amendment allowing magistrates to deny bail to certain people accused of certain crimes.

“These two additional agenda items are crucial to improving the quality of life for all Texans,” Abbott said in a press release from his office Wednesday. “I look forward to working with my partners in the Legislature to pass these additional items that will lower property taxes and keep Texans safe.”

An identical bill was passed by the Senate in the second extraordinary session by 29 votes to 2, but later died in the House. The new measure appears to be on the fast track in the Senate during this extraordinary session, with the Senate Finance Committee passing the bill by a 14-0 vote on Tuesday. A floor vote could take place before the end of the week.

House Speaker Dade Phelan has this time indicated his support for the bill.

State Senator Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston – author of SB 1 – said his legislation offered much needed relief to homeowners.

“What I’ve been advocating for 20 years or more (is) that if you have excess funds, at least some should go back to taxpayers,” Bettencourt said.

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, noted that Patrick was successful in pushing the governor to add items to the agendas of previous special sessions by stating a list of his own priorities. One of the most notable elements of this year has been a bill to restrict the participation of transgender student athletes in school sports, a measure that died in previous special sessions but was resurrected for the third special session.

Jones said the low number in the bill was important.

“This (property tax reform) is, I think, one area where Patrick has decided it is a top priority for him,” Jones said, “He’s going to do whatever he can. power to ensure that – before the end of the special session in mid-October – that this item was not only added to the agenda, but that it was withdrawn from the Senate and this time from bedroom.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the proposed tax cut. The bill would reduce homeowners’ tax rates by about 6.6 cents.

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