85th session of Texas Legislature slated to begin Tuesday
AUSTIN, Texas – State Comptroller Glen Hager may have set a sour tone Monday by releasing his revenue report for the next two years.
The message to legislators is that they’re going to have less money to spend.
Lower oil prices mean the legislature will likely have to make some cuts in the budget.
Lawmakers will have about $105 billion in revenue to work with; that’s about $8 billion less than predicted a year ago.
Among the issues they’ll take up? Property tax reform.
Houston Senator Paul Bettencourt is sponsoring a measure that would prevent property tax evaluations from climbing more than 4 percent due to appreciation without allowing taxpayers to vote the increase up or down.
Funding for Texas schools is still up in the air after the “Robinhood” funding system was thrown out in court.
A renewed push for vouchers is likely to come up, but is not a top priority for Speaker of the House Joe Straus.
Hot button social issues could take time away from meat and potatoes issues.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick promised to pass a bill to prevent transgender Texans from using bathrooms of their choice.
And, the abortion fight still isn’t dead.
Patrick called reporters together to assure them that he’ll be running for lieutenant governor again.
"There's been so much speculation in the newspapers, even on the front page, on the blogs that I'm either joining the Trump administration, I'm interested in the U.S. Senate seat, or I'm running against Greg Abbott for governorm" Patrick said. "I will use the word speculation. All of that has been nothing more than someone's pipe dream. Some speculation, based on no facts."
While state revenues are down, Patrick’s campaign chest is flush.
He announced he’s amassed a sum north of $16 million, which could be taken as a warning to anyone who might be thinking of running for his seat.
The gavel goes down on the 85th session of the Texas Legislature at noon Tuesday.
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