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Government/Politics

Standoff In The Legislature: Senate Refuses To Budge On Property Taxes

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Ryan E. Poppe

    

A fight between the Texas House and Senate over competing tax cut plans goes on despite attempts at a compromise.

The continued standoff resulted in a sit down between Senate Finance Chair, Jane Nelson, a Republican from Flower Mound, and the House Ways and Means Committee Chair, Dennis Bonnen, a Republican from Angleton, to determine if there was any way the two chambers could find a tax plan they agreed on.

Bonnen said the House has always been open to a compromise. “The only way that I’ve ever, in my 10 terms up here, seen major issues resolved, is that we compromise. And so I’m more than open, but I am not the king of how to cut taxes in Texas,” Bonnen explained.

The House is proposing a plan that cuts the state’s sales tax by three percent and reduces the state’s business tax by 25 percent. Over in the Senate, members want to reduce the business tax by 15 percent and provide property tax cuts.

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Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Flower Mound Republican Senator Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate's Finance Committee.

  Bonnen told Nelson he’d be willing to drop a cut in sales taxes and increase the state’s business tax, if the Senate would be willing to drop its plan to cut property taxes. “I understand what he’s saying, I just don’t agree. And I think it’s safe to say that he doesn’t agree with our body’s thinking, but we’ll work this out,” Nelson said.

Bonnen logic against property tax relief this session is simple: It would be shortlived.    
"Because cities and counties could simply raise their rates after the session had ended,"  explained Bonnen.

Nelson added that Gov. Greg Abbott has become involved, and was working behind the scenes to facilitate an agreement.

The House’s tax cut proposal still awaits a hearing before the Senate’s Finance Committee. A House committee began to hear details of the Senate tax reform bill on Tuesday.