The Texas Senate gave its nod to Senate Bill 1 just after midnight on July 26. Two other bills were also passed. The latter pushes in an increase of the reporting requirements needed for abortion facilities. Senator Paul Bettencourt, a Republican elected from Houston, promoted the tax reforms. If implemented, the reforms will stop counties and cities from raising the effective tax rates. The rates will not top four percent during any year. This rule can be broken only if the voters consented to increase their taxes via a referendum. Senate leaders hope that such a step will reduce the pace of the fast rising property taxes in Texas. Counties and cities at present can move up to a maximum of eight percent. Bettencourt said that the passing of the bill means residents of the state can now enjoy tax reliefs.
Not everyone benefits
Voters will also enjoy the option to hold an election so the tax can be repealed. This does not happen much in Texas due to hard difficulties in satisfying all requirements. All property owners, however, will not enjoy a positive impact in case the plan proposed by Bettencourt finally becomes law. The proposal will exempt the smaller counties and cities whose yearly revenues comes below $20 million every year. Recent history also reveals that most of the biggest Texas counties and a majority of cities did not increase the rates of tax more than the prescribed four percent by Bettencourt.
The measure is still a long way to go before it finally becomes a law. It must be cleared by the Texas House. The Senate passed a similar bill in its regular session, but the House never showed any inclination when it came to backing any kind of identical version, this stopping it from becoming the law. As per leaders of the House, they do have the requisite votes to place such number of caps on the local governments.
According to Bettencourt, it is estimated that if the bill finally becomes law, then the median homeowners would enjoy a decrease of amount ranging from $30 to about $100 in their tax bills. Several other bills were also passed by the Senate. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican from Houston, tried to accelerate the 20-point agenda which the Legislature ordered by Governor Greg Abbott to be taken up during the 30 day-long special session, which began a week before.