‘Big 3’ Texas leaders discuss sales tax increase to drive property taxes down


AUSTIN (KXAN) — With just three weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are running out of time to make the promise of property tax reform a reality.

On Friday, Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen came together to help push the process along. The “Big Three” state leaders held a joint news conference to put a spotlight on their property tax reform plan.

A key part is a proposal to raise the state sales tax by 1 percent. The added revenue would be dedicated to driving down property taxes.

“We’ve gone beyond the point of hoping to reform property taxes,” Gov. Abbott said at the Capitol news conference. “We’re hoping to be able to deliver true property tax relief through property tax reductions.”

Voters would have to approve an increase to the state sales tax. If lawmakers pass the plan, the item would appear on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment.

The show of unity by the top state leaders comes before a crucial week for the legislature. The Texas Senate is set to take up the school finance reform plan next week. The Texas House is scheduled to vote on the property tax plan.

“We want the members of the legislature and the Capitol to know we are here to support them,” Gov. Abbott said at the Capitol news conference. “We are here to work with them to help their constituents be able to afford, to continue to live in the homes that they cherish.”

The Governor said if lawmakers approve the plan, it would send an important message to voters. “We’re going to be able to leave this Capitol and inform our fellow Texans that their property tax bills next year are going to be less than they were this year,” Abbott declared.

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