The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.
Ahead of the 84th legislative session, state lawmakers — and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in particular — had expressed a strong interest in reducing property taxes this session. The Texas Constitution prohibits a statewide property tax and empowers local governments and schools and special districts to levy those taxes. Most property tax revenue goes to public schools.
While Senate members included property tax relief in their budget plan, the House opted for a plan that included sales tax cuts instead.
But House and Senate negotiators agreed on enacting property tax relief and sales tax cuts. Legislators approved a bill increasing the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, a move that must have voter approval. The increased homestead exemption is part of a $3.8 billion tax cut deal that also included a reduction in the franchise tax rate paid by businesses.
Updated: June 1, 2015
- Agreeing on the budget
- Reforming contracting and procurement
- The fight over the spending cap
- Reducing property taxes
- Cutting margins taxes
- Budget fallout from school finance lawsuit
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