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Gov. Abbott calls for second special session after Legislature fails to agree on property tax relief

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Gov. Greg Abbott, seen here at a press conference in 2019, vowed to keep calling new special sessions until the Texas Legislature sends him a bill addressing property tax cuts.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called for a new special session after the Texas House and Senate failed — once again — to agree on how to cut property taxes in Texas.

Abbott made the call about an hour after the Texas Senate adjourned the first special session.

“After yet another month without the House and Senate sending a bill to my desk to cut property taxes, I am once again putting the agreed upon school district property tax rate cuts on the special session agenda,” Abbott said in a news release. “Unless and until the House and Senate agree on a different proposal to provide property tax cuts, I will continue to call for lasting property tax cuts through rate reductions and working toward eliminating the school property tax in Texas.”

Abbott vowed to keep calling new special sessions until the Texas Legislature sends him a bill addressing property tax cuts.

Unlike the first special session, which focused on property taxes and border security, the second special session will focus solely on cutting property taxes.

According to the proclamation issued by Abbott, the Legislature must focus on “legislation to cut property-tax rates solely by reducing the school district maximum compressed tax rate in order to provide lasting property-tax relief for Texas taxpayers,” and “legislation to put Texas on a pathway to eliminating school district maintenance and operations property taxes.”

According to the proclamation, the second special session started at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. However, members are expected to return to Austin on Wednesday.

In a memo sent by House Speaker Dade Phelan’s office to House members Tuesday morning, House members were asked to plan to reconvene at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The result of deadlock

Tuesday’s call for a new special session did not come as a surprise.

When Abbott called for the first special session, in late May, he said he wanted the Texas House and Senate to reach an agreement on how to provide property tax relief.

The chambers had been tasked with using some of the state’s $33 billion surplus to cut property taxes.

The House right awaysided with Abbott and passed a measure that would use state funds to reduce school district’s maintenance and operation tax rates to ultimately reduce property taxes.

The House ended up adjourning the first day of the special session.

The Senate, however, passed a measure that would have instead increased the homestead exemption.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doubled down on his plan — despite the House adjourning — and has been active since on Twitter criticizing Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Patrick also didn’t allow the Senate to adjourn sine die until Tuesday, nearly the last day of the first special session.

The lieutenant governor has claimed his plan would provide relief to more homeowners.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the former Texas Capitol reporter for The Texas Newsroom.
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