Property Tax Reform Could Be The Big Compromise Of The Special Session

Aug 8, 2017

After not speaking for months, House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick from the Texas Senate sat down to hear each other’s special session priorities.  The two legislative leaders wanted to determine if there is enough compromise between the two legislative bodies to get a bill to the governor’s desk before the end of the special session.

There is just over a week left in this special session and House and Senate lawmakers are at a stalemate for getting any bill to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk before the deadline.

Hammering out a compromise may be the reason why the two Republican leaders met for the first time in six months.  

Professor Mark Jones is the political science fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy.

“They know if they don’t get something done and they don’t come to some type of compromise on at least a few high priority issues, the governor’s going to have to call a second special session," Jones says.

And Jones says that would hurt the Republican Party of Texas.  

"In part because it would make the Republican Party as a group look incompetent, that is if you have a majority in the House and Senate and the governorship and you can't get basic legislation passed, then that reflects poorly on the party," Jones explains.

One of the items that could result in a compromise is a bill that seeks to lower property tax rates by limiting local governments’ abilities to set them.

“Overall what they are going to try to do is find some pieces of priority legislation where they come to a compromise and I think property tax rollbacks is the place where that is most possible because we are dealing with percentages there," Jones explains.

Jones says there seems to be no compromise between House and Senate lawmakers on any other big issues, including school finance reform.  The last day of the session is scheduled for August 16th.