According to sources inside the Texas Capitol, Gov. Greg Abbott is telling lawmakers he will refuse to sign property tax reform legislation that does not include the largest item on a taxpayer’s bill—school taxes. Now one lawmaker is coming forward and claiming the rumors are true.

Abbott shared his position with a number of lawmakers while traveling to and from an event with President Donald Trump earlier this week. State Rep. Briscoe Cain of Deer Park is one lawmaker who has stepped forward ahead of the Texas House’s consideration of House Bill 2 to share his understanding of Abbott’s position.

Based on conversations with Gov. Abbott and other lawmakers, Cain said, “I am not under the impression he will sign any property tax reform legislation that does not include schools.”

Other lawmakers say Abbott told them as well, but have declined to go on the record with Texas Scorecard.

Abbott’s remarks appear to bolster conservative lawmakers’ efforts to reinsert school taxes into House Bill 2, the omnibus property tax reform bill on the floor today.

Unveiled at a press conference at the beginning of the session, House Bill 2, as originally filed, would prevent local governments from raising taxes more than 2.5 percent without first securing voter approval.

However, in the dark of the night following the marathon debate on the budget, House Ways and Means Chairman (and bill author) Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock) amended the legislation to remove schools and other special taxing units from the bill.

At the time Burrows claimed that schools would be included in House Bill 3, an education spending bill carried by State Rep. Dan Huberty (R–Kingwood), but when lawmakers considered the measure the following week no provision was added to the bill.

Lawmakers are set to consider House Bill 2 later this afternoon with 180 amendments to the legislation already filed, many of which would have the effect of adding schools back into the bill and protecting Texans from excessive tax hikes.

So far Burrows has not indicated he will accept those amendments and Abbott has not responded to requests for comment on his position.


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.