Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen announced both chambers of the state legislature had come to an agreement on a sweeping school finance and property tax relief bill.

Squeaking in just before May 27 and sine die, lawmakers in the state House and Senate passed a school finance bill that will provide raises for teachers, pre-K, and property tax relief.

The final OK comes a day after Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced that the two chambers had managed to come to a compromise on competing bills to hammer out school finance and property tax relief measures.

“We would not be here today, making the announcement we are about to make, without the tireless efforts of the members of the Texas House and Senate,” Abbott told reporters gathered at the Governor’s Mansion Thursday. All three had promised at the beginning of the legislative session that the focus would be on school finance reform and property tax relief.

“We’re here to tell you we’ve been all together and we’ve stayed all together,” Bonnen said. “We didn’t get here without being a team.” (more…)

NeaveOn the heels of the revelation that Dallas County is suing State Rep. Victoria Neave for more than $26,000 in late property taxes on her Abrams Road home, Richardson ISD has filed documentation that would bring Neave’s total delinquent tax tab to more than $50,000.

The district filed an intervening motion March 1 that added its $23,948.58 to Neave’s previously reported $26,760.73 the county already named in the suit filed on Feb. 28.

The potential for the intervention was mentioned in the original suit, which said, in part, that Richardson would likely also join as a party to the suit, “because it may have a claim for delinquent taxes against all or part of the same property.”

Neave represents District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas and Mesquite. (more…)

Neave

Dallas County has filed suit against State Rep. Victoria Neave for back taxes on this Abrams Road home.

State Rep. Victoria Neave has found herself in hot water with Dallas County and is being sued for more than $26,000 in late property taxes on her Abrams Road home.

Documents filed Tuesday reveal that Neave is arrears to the tune of $26,760.73, and is listed in the suit along with her former law partner and ex-fiance, Mark Scott Jr.

Neave represents District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas and Mesquite. (more…)

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen took the gavel as Speaker of the House yesterday, and asked for cooperation across the aisles (Photo courtesy Rep. Bonnen’s Facebook page).

Bathrooms? That’s so 2017. The new hot legislative priorities lighting up Austin this legislative session are school finance and property taxes.

Think I’m kidding? New House Speaker Dennis Bonnen put it on a cup — actually, every cup in the Senate lounge is now emblazoned with “School Finance Reform, The Time Is Now.”

The session gaveled in knowing already that state Comptroller Glenn Hegar had told them that they would have about 8.1 percent more in funding available for public programs like schools and healthcare in the next two years, for about a $119.1 billion state budget. But he also cautioned legislators that they wouldn’t be able to make it rain — oil prices are falling and the U.S. economy is uncertain, leaving any prognostication as to how revenue will look a bit muddled.

But one couldn’t help but notice a sense of cooperation in both houses of the state legislature, one not generally felt in the last session, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick embarked on a much-lamented quest for passage of a bathroom bill and school vouchers, both of which failed.

Bonnen, in his address Tuesday, made a plea for more bipartisanship.

“In a state as big and diverse as Texas, there are plenty of ideas about what we should do on any one issue and these ideas often point in different directions,” Bonnen said. “It’s our job to reconcile the differences.”

The makeup of the two bodies is also different this time around. Democrats gained 12 seats in the house last November, with Republicans holding the Texas House with 83 seats to Democrats’ 67. In the Senate, there are 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Thanks to the three-fifths rule, a kill on an unpopular GOP bill like a bathroom bill would be just one Republican renegade away, unlike the last session, when the Democrats were outnumbered 20 to 10.

This pivot away from the unpopular bathroom bill, especially (Patrick even called it “settled” when asked about it Wednesday), bodes well for proponents of retooling public education finance, as well as property owners looking for relief from rising property taxes. (more…)