Patrick: Property tax relief is my # 1 financial priority in the third Called Special Session
AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made the following statement regarding his priorities for the third special convened session of the 87th legislative session:
“If the budget surplus is expected to run into billions, taxpayers will have to face new expenditures.
“There is a lot to do in the next 30-day special session. The constitution requires new cards to be created for Congress, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the State Board of Education. Key laws that the Senate has passed multiple times, like the Fair Sports Act, which prevents boys from engaging in girls’ sports, must finally get on Governor Abbott’s desk.
“But the question I get asked the most by senators and the general public is how will we spend the excess of our government revenues due to our robust economy and an estimated nearly $ 16 billion in conditional federal funding. “About how we spend it.
“There are some interesting ideas like setting up a new higher education fund similar to the Permanent University Fund (PUF) that would be in addition to the Higher Education Fund (HEF). Before deciding on new spending programs, however, we need to repay a large part of the surplus to homeowners in order to relieve property tax and save some for the future. We also need to help our small businesses avoid a massive hike in their unemployment insurance tax due to the record unemployment benefit disbursements in 2020.
“That’s why Senate Bill 1 from Senator Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, identical to Senate Bill 91, which the Texas Senate passed 29-2 in the second special session, sends back a large part of our excess money.” To the taxpayers before spending on new programs. This represents a quantum shift in the way we think about spending excess dollars. Tax breaks must come first – before new expenses.
“Senate Bill 2 by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, will look at funding our Unemployment Insurance Fund, which was drained in 2020 due to COVID-19. Usually, a shortfall in the unemployment insurance fund is passed on to the company through unemployment insurance taxes. We should help fund much of the multi-billion dollar shortfall as our unemployment benefits rose dramatically in 2020.
“Senate Bill 3, the Fair Sports Bill, by Senator Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, will again address the injustice of boys in girls’ sports.
“Senate Bill 4, by Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, will be the new Senate District map.
“Senate Bill 5 from Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, will look after and protect man’s best friend – dogs.”
“I would also like the Senate to examine the establishment of a fund to create incentives for more investments in switchable energy so that electricity can be fed into our grid over the next few years. This is similar to what we’ve done in the past for water projects, the internet, and other needed infrastructure, I ask Senator Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, who passed SB 2 and SB 3 on power grid reforms in the regular legislative session to Hold hearings on the matter.
“Depending on the spending rules associated with the federal dollars, we may have the opportunity to take on several important projects during this special session. We need to remember that these federal dollars are our dollars. Texas taxpayers sent them to Washington, DC Although we have a deadline to spend the money, we have to be smart about how we spend it.
“My message is simple: if the Treasury is in surplus in any given year, our first priority must be to give a large portion of it back to homeowners for their property taxes and save some for the future. Additional spending should only be made after addressing these two priorities. Once lawmakers pass the cards, we can focus on the financial issues and opportunities that lie ahead.
“After the first two special sessions, the Texas Senate will be ready to begin its work and meet our obligations to taxpayers and the entire Texas population.”