Property Tax Bill Moves Forward in Texas House

Linsman for The New York Times

Linsman for The New York Times

Senate Bill 1 would require larger cities, counties and special goal districts to hold an election if they plan to increase their property tax collections by 6 percent or more than the previous year. Introduced by Republican Senator Lois Kolkhorst, the bill would prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice in public schools and local government buildings, but not state buildings and public universities.

State lawmakers have approved bills reauthorizing the Texas Medical Board and other agencies whose operations were jeopardized by similar measures stalling previously - the first pieces of legislation to clear the Legislature during the special session.

When the House passed one amendment that would let cities and counties exclude some taxes for transportation spending from the election threshold, Bonnen insinuated that he would pull the bill and successfully got his colleagues to reconsider their vote. "It's not meant to, and anyone who suggests that it is giving you bad information", Bonnen said as he outlined the bill for the House.

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Under current law, people can petition for a rollback election if cities, counties and special districts move to raise property tax revenues more than 8 percent. Abbott has suggested that a 4 or 5 percent trigger would be appropriate.

During debates in both chambers, Democrats attacked the measure.

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The bill returns to the Senate, which can agree to House changes or seek a conference committee to negotiate over the changes.

The 6 percent threshold was more palatable than 4 percent to some, including Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.

Meanwhile, Huberty advanced the Senate's preferred bill - which would create a commission to study school finance - two days ago.

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Rep. Diana Arévalo, D-San Antonio, is among the bill's opponents. In fact, it forces taxpayers to spend money on costly elections every year.

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