AUSTIN, Texas — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says there are three big issues remaining for lawmakers to resolve in the final hours of the 88th Texas Legislature.
The Republican says his number one remaining priority is deciding the final legislation dealing with the grid in Texas.
“Everything is important. But if there’s not power, that trumps everything. So, that’s very important. We’re very close, I think, but still have to resolve that,” Patrick told us on Inside Texas Politics.
Another unresolved issue is school choice and education savings accounts (ESAs), which would provide $8,000 in taxpayer money to parents looking to move their children from public schools to private schools, even religious ones.
Senators attached the voucher-like program to a school funding bill that would have provided modest raises to teachers.
This was an attempt to avoid a special session and pass a Republican priority.
But the Texas House isn’t expected to pass the changes after failing to advance similar ESA legislation, which means the teacher raises and the extra money heading to schools would go down with it.
The final pressing issue is property tax relief. Patrick thinks lawmakers are very close.
“We have put $17.5 Billion in the budget, sitting there for property tax reform. Without exaggeration, the biggest property tax cut in the history of the world,” the Republican said.
The House has agreed to boost the homestead exemption, which was pushed by senators.
It would now be $100,000 for most homeowners and $110,000 for seniors.
A homestead exemption lowers the taxable value of your home. Under this proposal, if you live in a $350,000 home, you’d pay property taxes on a $250,000 home.
The House version of the bill would also provide about $12 billion for school districts in an effort to lower that portion of your tax bill.
It would also shrink the state’s appraisal cap from 10% to 5%. That means the annual increase on your home’s taxable value couldn’t jump more than 5%.
But this is a highly controversial proposal that many senators have said they will not support.
“We’re still hung up over a few little things,” Patrick said. “And hopefully that all resolves itself, so we’ll get that done.”
The 88th Texas Legislature will come to close May 29.
To read more about Patrick’s thoughts on the Paxton investigation, head here: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick comments on Ken Paxton investigation | wfaa.com