Special legislative session renews debate over property tax refo - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Special legislative session renews debate over property tax reform

Tyler City Hall opposes legislation similar to SB2, saying that their goal is never to raise taxes, and that the state should stay out of local matters. (Source: KLTV) Tyler City Hall opposes legislation similar to SB2, saying that their goal is never to raise taxes, and that the state should stay out of local matters. (Source: KLTV)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Legislators from across Texas are heading to Austin for a special legislative session. The session, which convenes Tuesday, was called by Governor Abbott after the regular session ended.

There are 20 different agenda items the Governor wants addressed, which range from property tax reform to school finance reform.

"The 20 items are all things we're in favor of," State Senator Bryan Hughes said. "Many of these bills passed the Senate, but didn't make it through the House," in the regular session.

Part of the special session hinges on property tax reform. During the regular session, Senate Bill 2 passed the Senate but didn't make it through House chambers. It would require a rollback vote if a local government chose to raise property taxes more than five percent.

"In [East Texas] we don't have nearly the problem they have in the fast growth suburban and urban areas," Hughes said, referring to higher property tax rates in metropolitan areas like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. "We want to make sure that across the state Texans aren't being run over by the government."

But the reason - at least in part - the bill did not pass the House is because there were representatives in the House who thought the bill would take power away from locally elected officials.

"I feel that we need to be very careful not to overstep our bounds from a state standpoint," Representative Chris Paddie said, adding that "local elected officials who are elected locally to govern their communities," know best how to do exactly that.

The debate is expected to sit very high in the calendar. Of the 19 other agenda items, Senator Hughes says they are all very important to Governor Abbott.

"I met with him last week," Hughes said, "and he said all 20 bills are must pass bills."

As far as how the House and Senate will get along during the special session - both of the Republican officials expect there will be a lot of debate between the two chambers.

The special session gavels open on Tuesday, and cannot exceed 30 days.

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