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House Style Property Tax Reform

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SB2 by Senator Bettencourt of Harris County, the bill that has been touted as property tax reform by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, has not had an easy time and it seems from events that transpired on the House floor on Saturday, will not see passage by both chambers at this point in the session.

SB2 was filed November 29, 2016–almost immediately when the pre-filing of bills was allowed.  The bill was referred to the Senate finance committee on January 24th and finally had a hearing in the Senate on March 14th.  The bill passed out of the Senate on March 21st and was received from the House the next day where it sat until it was scheduled for a hearing on May 10th.

The bill finally moved out of the House Ways and Means Committee on May 16th, this past Tuesday, and was sent to the Calendar Committee.  It was placed on the General State Calendar to be heard on Thursday, May the 18th.

When SB2 was heard in the Senate committee in March, there were around 105 who testified for the bill and over 375 who testified against the bill. These testimonies were in person, through written testimony or by just registering.  Out of these testifying against, 212 were representing city municipalities and 83 were representing county municipalities.

When SB2 was heard in the House in May, it saw the same type of for and against. Thirty-seven other than city and county representatives testifying for and 237 against. Those against the bill who were representing city and county interests, were over 160.

As the bill sat on the calendar Thursday, a point of order was raised and withdrawn and the bill was postponed until 5:00 pm of that day’s calendar, but the House adjourned at 4:54 pm and this caused SB2 to be postponed until the next day.  (This can be found on page 76 of the House Journal  for that day)

On Friday, after the third reading of bills was completed, Rep. D. Bonnen moved to recommit SB2 back to the House Ways and Means committee.

On Saturday, SB669 by Senator Jane Nelson and sponsored by Rep. John Zerwas, came to the floor.  This bill deals with overhauling the system for protesting property taxes.

The following representatives  submitted amendment 4 for consideration:

D. Bonnen, Longoria, Cyrier, Gooden, Isaac, Dale, Morrison, Meyer, Schubert, Holland, Button, G. Bonnen, Cosper, Elkins, Huberty, Wray, Murphy, Shine, Paul, R. Anderson, Schofield, Bohac, Cook, Landgraf, Simmons, White, Raymond, S. Davis, Darby, Springer, Flynn, Burns, Hefner, Wilson, Burrows, Leach, Roberts, Raney, Workman, Price, Goldman,

Oliverson, Burkett, Larson, Geren, Rinaldi, E. Thompson, Kuempel, Phelan, Longoria, Lozano, Dean, Bell, Cosper, Stucky, and Phillips.

This amendment includes some of the components of SB2 minus the Senate’s trigger for a rollback election.  Representative Matt Shaheen offered an amendment that mirrored the Senate’s rollback rate, but his amendment was ruled not germane by the Speaker.

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