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Texas Legislature Faces Gridlock as Abbott, Patrick, and Phelan Clash Over Tax Policies in Legislative Overtime

This story has been updated with a statement from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick responding to the House adjourning and a tweet from Greg Abbott late Tuesday evening reiterating his position.

Austin, TX – The Texas Legislature finds itself in a state of gridlock as Governor Greg Abbott’s special session call for increased penalties on human smuggling and property tax cuts sparks a heated dispute between the Senate and the House.

Governor Abbott’s special session agenda included two crucial items. Firstly, he aimed to crack down on human smuggling along the border, seeking tougher penalties to curb this illicit activity. Secondly, Abbott sought to alleviate the burden on taxpayers by reducing property taxes, particularly by compressing school district tax rates.

However, the Senate, led by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, disregarded the Governor’s agenda. Instead, they passed legislation to cut school district property tax rates by 10 cents AND raise the homestead exemption to $100,000. Following this move, the Senate adjourned until Friday.

Meanwhile, Speaker Dade Phelan and the Texas House defied the Senate’s actions by refusing to refer the bills to committee, deeming them not germane to the Governor’s call. Instead, they focused on the Governor’s preferred property tax cut policy, passing legislation to compress school district property tax rates by 16 cents and imposing stricter penalties on human smuggling at the border. The Texas House then adjourned sine die on Tuesday evening, leaving the Senate to respond.

This recent clash between the two chambers follows months of disagreements during the regular session regarding the most effective approach to property tax cuts. Failed negotiations ensued, with the Senate advocating for a homestead exemption increase and the House pushing for an appraisal cap. Governor Abbott, who initially remained silent on the issue, now actively supports school district property tax rate compression, garnering backing from industry, ideological groups, and think tanks.

The deadlock in the Texas Legislature intensifies as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott exchange tweets, further fueling the dispute over property tax cuts.

In a statement, Patrick responded to the situation, claiming the Governor is misinformed about the role of the executive and the legislative branches during a special session, where despite constitutionally the Governor decides what’s on the call, the Legislature decides the fine details of policy.

“Governor Abbott has finally shown his cards. He chooses to give homeowners 50% less of a tax cut, nearly $700 a year, to give corporations more. This is not what homeowners expected when they voted for him.” Patrick further said, “The Governor should feel free to expand the call to include other critical issues for our State. We have work to do.”

Governor Abbott also took to Twitter to defend his position, stating, “No matter how many special sessions it takes I’ll sign a law that provides the largest property tax cut in the history of Texas. My plan does the most to cut your property taxes.”

Patrick’s statement suggests that when the Senate reconvenes, they won’t pass the Abbott endorsed House proposal, HB1 and HJR1. This portends an elongated fight this summer with multiple special sessions, each at the cost to taxpayers, to get the leadership of state government to make a deal on an issue most Texans agree need change.

Written by RA News staff.


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