Wednesday, May 10, 2017

#TXLEGE: Politics getting played on Property Taxes....


"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

We attended the first hour of this morning's hearing on the House's version of the property tax 'relief' bill.  Long story short: there's a committee substitute.  While there are a number of changes, the most important one is that rollback elections would no longer be automatic.

According to sources, Chairman Bonnen introduced the substitute because Drew Darby, Drew Springer, and Hugh Shine are refusing to vote the Senate version of the bill out of committee.  Thus, the committee substitute is a mechanism to get the bill to a conference committee.  Apparently, the theory is that the bill can be strengthened in conference.

We hope you'll pardon us if we mention we've heard this before.

But here's the extraordinary thing: Even though the bill (at least as it currently stands) has been gutted, the butthurt disingenuous local officials are still testifying that the sky will fall.  The city of Sugarland alone had 3 officials show up to testify.  The highlight so far was hearing some yutz from some city council somewhere complain that requiring local governments to seek voter approval for gigantic tax increases would inject "partisan politics" into municipal budgeting.  In a weird way, this is actually a healthy development because it shows just how incorrigible the local government industrial complex really is.  We left as the Texas Municipal league was having a press conference (and yes, Mayor Adler, we see you) in the back rotunda:






Similarly, it was interesting to observe Bonnen's exasperation with the local government industrial complex.  For as much as Bonnen has bent over backwards to accommodate them with this committee substitute, they're still using the same over the top rhetoric.  Bonnen was visibly irritated and snippy.

Here's the thing: They have 19 days to get this done.  We don't like or trust what happened this morning, but we don't have a choice but to support moving the process forward.  We'll know a lot more about the seriousness of this effort by whether or not they vote the bill out tonight.

Bottom Line: We'll see what happens, the clock is ticking....

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House Ways and Means Committee:

Chairman Dennis Bonnen: (512) 463-0564

Republicans opposed:
Drew Darby: (512) 463-0331
Drew Springer: (512) 463-0526
Hugh Shine: (512) 463-0630

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According to sources, Governor Abbott got personally engaged this morning.  Welcome to the fight.  If he were to indicate a willingness to call a special session over the issue, it would help matters tremendously.

Governor Greg Abbott: (512) 463-2000

We've also posted the question on Twitter:

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