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Need-to-Know News for Members
June 14, 2019
May 28, 2019
May 24, 2019
Subject: “Big Three” Hold Press Conference on State Budget, School Finance Reform, and Property Tax Relief
Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Speaker Bonnen held a press conference this afternoon on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion to lay out the plans for school finance reform and property tax relief. They were joined by prominent lawmakers from both parties and both chambers of the Texas Legislature.
Abbott opened by recounting the cooperative process of the 2019 session to date and thanked the legislators for their tireless efforts. He said that work on HB 1, HB 3, and SB 2 was being finalized but was agreed upon, and compared the legislation favorably with his goals described in his state-of-the-state address at the beginning of the session. “We will finally fix school finance in Texas… and we’ve done a whole lot more,” Abbott said. The legislation will provide $5 billion in statewide property tax relief in the first biennium and more in the future. The school tax rate will be lowered by an average of 8 cents in 2020, 13 cents in 2021, additional tax relief in years going forward, and recapture will be lowered by $3.5 billion.
Patrick thanked the Speaker, Governor, and the staff. “We took a hundred years of policy and reformed it in less than 140 days. We are capping the amount by which your school tax can grow to 2.5%. We are capping city and county tax growth at 3.5% without a vote of the people… we set the goal very high… We’ve had the Superbowl of legislative sessions… I have a passion to raise teacher pay.”
Bonnen said that at the beginning of the session, people said that the legislature couldn’t do school finance reform with a new Speaker. “$4.5 billion will be going into the classroom. That’s prioritizing kids in Texas… it will change their lives and make Texas even better… and increases equity. We don’t ever want to be here because of a lawsuit in a courtroom. The most significant thing that HB 1, HB 3, and SB 2 say is that we’re more together than we’ve ever been, and it’s the people of Texas who win.”
Patrick added that the teacher pension system will now be actuarially sound and will generate an additional “13th check” for teachers. “The winner was Texas teachers,” echoed Bonnen, in answering a question on teacher pay. Patrick also described the increased state share of the cost of financing schools that will be accomplished.
Cutting recapture by 46% is a major accomplishment, Bonnen pointed out.
January 7, 2019
January 7, 2019
The Atlantic; December 18, 2018