Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told a packed room of activists at a Northeast Tarrant Tea Party meeting that a successful legislative session was the key to holding off Democrats in 2020.

“We have to have a successful session,” Patrick said before he reviewed the list of 30 legislative priorities that his office published last Friday.

“These are not Dan’s priorities. Some are, like [property tax reform],” he said with the list in hand. “They are bills that you say you want to address and [state] senators say their constituents want to address … these are the 30 that say where we want to go.”

As Patrick read through the bills, many were welcomed with applause, such as property tax reform, election integrity efforts, ending taxpayer-funded lobbying, and providing transparency on bond election ballots.

However, not all were received as warmly. Silence accompanied Patrick’s mention of Senate Bill 21, legislation by State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) which would raise the state smoking age from 18 to 21.

Although Patrick told the crowd his No. 1 issue was to “reduce property taxes,” there is very little in the list of priorities that guarantees that. He also implied the proposed 2.5 percent rollback rate outlined in SB 2 could end up increasing to as much as 4 percent before it passes.

That change would be damaging to citizens but would benefit the primary groups opposed to property tax reform measures—local elected officials and tax-funded lobbying groups representing local taxing entities, such as the Texas Municipal League and Texas Association of Counties.

Patrick emphasized that a “successful session” was key to electoral victory in 2020, but his definition of success seemed more lukewarm than taxpayers’ own. For those present at the meeting, they would define success as being able to keep more of their own money in their wallets and paying less in property taxes than the preceding year—not merely controlling the escalating growth of property tax bills, but having real, substantial, and lasting relief.

Patrick told the audience that elected officials need to be held accountable, and he’s right. Citizens need to contact him to demand he and other lawmakers deliver compelling results because if taxpayers don’t experience significant relief by the end of this session, then the last day of the session could very well be the day Texas turns blue.

Patrick’s full remarks may be viewed here:

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.