• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Texas Gov. Abbott Calls for Special Session With Focus on Property Taxes

Bynewsmagzines

May 31, 2023
Texas lawmakers ended their regular biennial<b> </b>session Monday and now a special session is underway. (CoStar)

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The Texas Legislature wrapped up its 88th session on Monday but lawmakers remain at the Capitol after Gov. Greg Abbott called for a special session involving real estate issues.

That first extended session of the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature, which normally meets every two years in Austin, is expected to include debate on taxing property owners. Abbott called the first special session a few hours after the regular session ended on May 29 without passage of a bill to prevent non-U.S. citizens from owning property and the House impeaching the state’s attorney general.

“Special session #1 will focus only on cutting property taxes and cracking down on illegal human smuggling,” Abbott said in a statement. “We must cut property taxes.”

He added that “during the regular session, we added $17.6 billion to cut property taxes. However, the legislature could not agree on how to allocate funds to accomplish this goal. Texans want and need a path towards eliminating property taxes. The best way to do that is to direct property tax reduction dollars to cut school property taxes.”

The State House and State Senate introduced bills on Tuesday to address Abbott’s property tax goals.

A bill proposing to ban land sales in Texas from certain foreign entities or governments died during the regular session. Senate Bill 147, which was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, proposed to ban businesses or dual citizens of China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from buying land in Texas.

SB 147, which was strongly opposed by Asian-American groups, made it out of the Senate shortly after it was amended to allow U.S. citizens and green card holders to purchase homes in the Lone Star State. But it stalled in the House and never came to the floor for a vote before the end of the regular session.

In another development, a major corporate incentive program that expired in 2022 could return. House Bill 5 would give businesses and corporations seeking to move or expand in the Lone Star State a break on school property taxes. The bill was approved by legislators in the final hours of the regular legislative session and could go to the governor’s desk for approval.

HB 5 would replace a previous incentives program known as Chapter 313. Proponents say the bill is necessary for Texas to maintain a competitive economy, while opponents argue a discount on school property taxes means less money for students, according to the Texas Tribune.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was impeached over Memorial Day weekend. The Texas House, in a 121-23 vote, voted to impeach Paxton after an investigation that alleged him of withholding information from the public, abuse of power and other wrongdoings.

The 20 articles of impeachment include allegations that Paxton accepted bribes from Nate Paul, a real estate mogul in Austin. Paxton, who has been suspended from office, will now face trial in the State Senate. He is the first Texas public official to be impeached since 1975, according to the Tribune. Paxton has denied any wrongdoing.

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