With only two weeks remaining in the 86th Texas Legislature, lawmakers are feeling the heat from their districts to pass much-needed property tax relief for constituents. One county Republican Party has put their state lawmakers on notice with an official letter and a resolution passed last week.

Last week, a letter from Parker County Republican Party Chairman J. Scott Utley was sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, State Sen. Pat Fallon (R–Prosper), and State Rep. Phil King (R–Weatherford) demanding meaningful property tax relief be afforded to their constituents in Parker County and statewide using the state’s surplus cash and without raising taxes. The letter contained a resolution passed in an emergency meeting of the county party’s executive committee the night prior.

“We respectfully urge you and the members of the State Legislature to use the surplus revenue as well as reductions in the growth of the Texas budget to provide property owners relief from the overwhelming burden of skyrocketing property taxes,” Utley writes.

Noting significant increases in residents’ property taxes and the state’s nearly $10 billion surplus revenues, the resolution cites the Republican Party of Texas Platform plank #166 passed last June as a not-so-subtle reminder for legislators in the Texas Capitol to consider while they grapple with how to deliver on the promise of meaningful relief.

The resolution concludes as follows:

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: The Republican Party of Parker County strongly urges our State Representative and State Senator and the rest of the Texas Delegation to use the surplus revenue to pass meaningful property tax relief without raising taxes.

The emergency meeting was held Tuesday evening, just hours following the decision by Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Republican State Rep. Dan Huberty (Kingwood) to postpone consideration of Gov. Greg Abbott’s “tax swap” proposal that included a 1-cent increase in the state’s sales tax.

The proposal, pushed by statewide leaders in recent weeks as a quick fix for complications in affording property tax relief (after spending nearly every dime that state had on public education and growing government), is dead—at least for the time being.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston) spearheaded an effort in the Texas Senate that led to the formation of a working group on additional revenues; the goal was to find unallocated dollars to provide relief after blowback from taxpayers frustrated that Republican leaders were considering raising taxes with record monies in state coffers.

Now, it would appear, grassroots leaders have started an effort to have lawmakers revisit the state budget and find places to cut spending so money can be appropriated to give taxpayers relief from skyrocketing and burdensome property taxes.

Lawmakers have just two weeks left to try and find a fix worthy enough for voters to send them back in next year’s looming election cycle, already expected to be a more competitive one than the state has seen in decades.

The full letter and resolution can be read here:
Parker County Property Tax Resolution

Destin Sensky

Destin Sensky serves as a Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard covering the Texas Legislature, working to bring Texans the honest and accurate coverage they need to hold their elected officials in Austin accountable.