Fuel for the Legislative Session

Halfway through the Texas Legislative Session, the pace is faster and the stakes are higher. Want to know what helps me ride the proverbial waves at the Capitol? Stepping just outside the pink dome. The stately old live oaks and spring-blooming trees put everything in perspective, and offer shade while I chat with concerned Texans, […]

Budget Heads to the House Floor

House budget writers left over $8 billion on the table in available general revenue, and have $2 billion in wiggle room under the spending growth cap. These funds could go a long way to increasing investments in Pre-K, community mental health services, community colleges, and other services that benefit hardworking Texans and businesses. Now these needs are competing with the tax cuts promised by leaders in both chambers.

Population Growth + Inflation Doesn’t Add Up for Texas

Imagine you move into a new house only to discover that the ceilings are only 5 feet high, forcing you to walk around hunched over. You would be outraged, uncomfortable, and unable to use your home to its full potential. There is a real danger that future legislators may find a similarly restrictive ceiling on […]

A Smart Approach to Closing a Costly Loophole

Senator Rodney Ellis proposed new legislation Tuesday to close a state loophole that allows commercial property owners to skirt their responsibility and significantly reduce their property tax bills below the property’s value by routinely appealing the appraised value of their property. Senator Ellis’ SB 1084 would require commercial property owners protesting appraised value to compare […]

Texas Medicaid Spending in Context

The 84th Legislative Session is now well underway, with committees appointed and holding hearings on budget and other important policy issues. In both House and Senate budget hearings, you may have heard legislators surprised to hear how much Texas Medicaid spending has grown. When we talk about increased Medicaid spending, we have to keep in […]

Big Week for Texas’ Ability to Invest

This week is a tipping point for the 84th Texas Legislature. Lawmakers will weigh some game-changing bills that would affect our state’s ability to invest in our future. Budget and tax debates don’t always draw the biggest crowds of concerned Texans, but all of us have a stake in the outcomes of these policy discussions. […]

Tax Policy Proposals Recap

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

This week we’ve looked at a number of tax policy proposals coming out of the Senate, including those that are part of the $4.6 billion tax cut package announced by Senator Jane Nelson and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. We’re concerned that these proposals take Texas in the wrong direction at a time when our population […]

Lower Revenue Cap = Fewer Local Services

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

We’re continuing our week-long march through tax policy proposals, and today we look at a proposal to lower the cap on local government property tax revenue. SB 182, authored by Senator Paul Bettencourt, and HB 365, by Representative Gary Elkins, aren’t part of the $4.6 billion package of tax cuts senate leaders introduced this week, […]

Proposal Addresses Frustrations with Property Taxes

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

On Tuesday, Senators Jane Nelson and Charles Schwertner drew much attention when they announced several major tax cut proposals, including a homestead exemption increase. As part of our week-long series on tax policies, today we’re looking at proposals to address frustrations with residential property taxes, such as the homestead exemption increase. While many of the […]

Don’t Prioritize Roads Over Other Needs

Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

UPDATE: Senator Robert Nichols (R – Jacksonville) announced a change to the proposal. The new proposal, which requires a constitutional amendment, would dedicate 50 percent of the revenue from the motor vehicle sales tax to highways in the following way: the first $2.5 billion would go to General Revenue, the next $2.5 billion would go to […]