Property Taxes, New Speaker Await Texas Legislature

Texas lawmakers already have filed hundreds of bills ahead of next year's session which will bring in a fresh crop of leadership and new house speaker.

The issue of paid sick leave pits cities against the state and is likely to make headlines.  There are also bills on abortion, 3D guns and marijuana.  But none compare to the bigger picture.

“The single most important issue before the Legislature is property taxes,which is another way of saying school finance,” says Harvey Kronberg of The Quorum Report.  “And the second most important, we have a lot of major issues over at Health and Human Services and in contracting that need to be addressed.”

“You can't deal with property taxes without dealing with school finance,and it's going to be interesting how they thread that needle. There's lots of conversation about caps, or allowing voters a certain threshold past which they can approve or disapprove property taxes.”

Electing a new House Speaker appears to be a formality after Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen announced this week he has the votes needed to succeed Joe Straus.

“Bonnen is perceived to be more conservative, but not necessarily more ideological,” says Kronberg.  “He's a pragmatic legislator, one of the things he promised the membership was to shuffle the deck and reward talent.”

The new session starts January 8.

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