Texas’ top three leaders in Austin Thursday declared that the legislature finally had reached an agreement on the top 3 issues facing the state: the 2-year state budget, a plan to slow the growth of rising property taxes, and increased teacher pay.

Governor Abbott was flanked by both Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and other House and Senate members who played key roles in negotiating the three pieces of legislation during their media session Thursday. The Texas property tax bill or SB2, aims to cap the county revenue growth at 3.5%.

“This is a session that has addressed and solved challenges that have plagued our state for decades,” Abbott said. The state legislature has been close for the past month, but a version of the bill has bounced back and forth between the House and the Senate.

Patrick said the property tax plan caps tax increases at 2.5% for schools and cities and counties at 3.5% without a vote from the people.

“We are giving people a say in their local government and their tax policies on their property whether it’s a homeowner or a business owner in a way that they’ve never had,” Patrick said.

What has been the problem?

The leaders have spent the last few years discussing how to slow the growth of rising property taxes in the state. Here are the two main changes in SB2 we are seeing in effectively what has become the Texas property tax bill.

  • 3.5% revenue cap on local governments. This means cities and counties can collect only up to 3.5% more in property tax revenue than they did the previous year. Historically, this number has been 8% before the threat of an election and needing voter approval
  • 2.5% revenue cap on schools. Schools districts are included under the cap, but at a lower percentage. SB3 also is funding the teacher pay raise that seeks to offset some of this difference

We will await the final bill that goes to Gov. Abbott’s desk next week after the Memorial Day weekend and check back for further updates.