At a jointly held press conference Thursday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the filing of HB2 and SB2, their consensus property tax reform plan.
“One thing that we know is that people in the state of Texas expect the Texas legislature to step up and reform property taxes in Texas,” said Abbott in his opening statement. “We will leave this session with meaningful property tax reform.”
The announcement comes just weeks after the three statewide leaders announced their plans to address the state’s two most prominent issues for the 86th Texas Legislature.
“I am unbelievably proud to see the way that both the Texas House and Texas Senate have come together and worked tirelessly to quickly address this issue,” Abbott said.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston), Chairman of the newly-formed Senate Committee on Property Tax, and State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock), Chairman of the Texas House’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, were both present and spoke at the press conference. Bettencourt and Burrows are the authors of the bills in each chamber respectively.
“In what may be completely unprecedented…this early in the session, for an issue this big and profound both the House and Senate, as of today, have come together and filed identical pieces of legislation to reform property taxes in Texas,” Abbott added.
“In my 11 legislative sessions, I’m not aware of ever having identical bills on such a significant issue that affects every Texan,” Bonnen echoed.
Bonnen went on to indicate would be a more “broad-sweeping appraisal reform bill” coming at a later date in the session, which he said should easily make it to the Governor’s desk.
Announcing that the Senate’s property tax committee would be convening next Wednesday for their first meeting, Patrick said, “I am hoping that the counties and the cities and the school districts come in and support their taxpayers. We have been stopped time after time in the past by a total resistance to reform.”
“The days of saying ‘no, we’re going to kill the bill because we don’t want change…’ those days are over,” Patrick said. “Their constituents at the local level are also our constituents,” he added.
Bonnen, likewise, echoed the same sentiment, going as far as saying local officials will no longer obstruct Texans’ demand for relief from skyrocketing property taxes.
“Previous efforts to give our taxpayers the support and reform they deserve, local entities have chosen to pit the House versus. the Senate, and the governor somewhere in between the discussion,” Bonnen said. ”We ask you to come to the table and work with us on behalf of the taxpayers we both represent, but you will not be dividing the House and the Senate and the Governor on the solution.”
“Join us in finding the right solution because we’re already joined together,” Bonnen concluded.
You can view the complete press conference here: