As Republican lawmakers in the Texas Capitol have united around passing sweeping property tax reform, one West Texas lawmaker is waging war against taxpayers and working with taxpayer-funded lobbyists to scuttle the proposal.
Senate Bill 2, the property tax plan announced during a joint press conference with Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, would reform the state’s property tax system by instituting mandatory elections for tax increases above 8% for small taxing units and 2.5% for school districts and large taxing units, giving voters more control over their tax bill.
When the Senate Committee on Property Tax met to hear public testimony on the bill last week, 100% of the opposition came from cities, taxpayer-funded lobbyists, and other government-reliant entities while everyday taxpayers unanimously supported the bill.
With the bill passed out of committee, the next step is for the legislation to be passed by the Texas Senate.
Now State Sen. Kel Seliger (R–Amarillo) is trying to kill reform.
On Thursday, Seliger told an Austin newspaper that he would not support the legislation due to the 2.5% voter approval rate contained in the bill, preferring “local control” of politicians over voter control.
Barring uncommon procedural measures, the bill requires the support of 19 Republican Senators to move forward during the regular session. That means that if Democrats are united in opposing it, the legislation can’t move through the Texas Senate under current practice.
It should come as little surprise that Seliger is opposed to offering taxpayers more control. In 2017, Seliger joined with Democrats twice to vote against similar legislation. Of course, that didn’t stop him in 2018 from claiming in a campaign mailer to be fighting against rising property taxes in Austin.
Seliger, and other Senators, must decide: will they stand with taxpayers or with politicians and taxpayer-funded lobbyists?
State Sen. Kel Seliger
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0131