STATE LEADERSHIP UNITED ON PROPERTY TAX, SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM
(Austin) The leaders of the House and Senate joined Governor Greg Abbott in front of the Governor’s mansion Wednesday to announce they are committed to passing significant changes to the way the state finances its public schools. This would entail major changes to the primary revenue source for education in Texas, local property taxes. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and new House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said that they will work with each other to deliver what Abbott called a “transformative” bill for his signature. “If the three of us are aligned, that we’re going to accomplish a mission, and pass legislation, it happens,” said Patrick. “This is not just a message to the public and to the media , but I think our members will take note, that this is really unprecedented, that we’re addressing these issues beginning of session, totally united with one another.” Patrick added he predicts that this will be the best session in the history of Texas.
Bonnen and Patrick, who preside over the House and Senate respectively, will set the agenda in their chambers, but both acknowledged that the actual plan will be generated by the members in each body. As for what could be included in the eventual reform package, the Legislature held joint meetings over the interim to take input from stakeholders and come up with a plan aimed at both improving the quality of education while fixing the complicated and counterintuitive school finance system. The Commission on Public School Finance released this report in December.
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