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TEXAS SENATE APPROVES SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM PACKAGE
AUSTIN -- For the third time in the past three years, the Texas Senate has approved a plan to reduce property taxes and implement new methods of funding for public education in Texas. Senators approved HB 3 by a 20-8 vote in the early morning hours today (3:34 a.m.).
"As a former public school teacher who served two terms on the State Board of Education, I want to ensure that our legislation provides a viable funding system that will not only support our schools but also encourage academic success," Senator Nelson said. "As a businesswoman, it is important to me that we do not replace Robin Hood with a levy of taxes on businesses. I voted for HB 3 only after the payroll tax was removed and a sunset date was added for the franchise tax. I will continue to press on those fronts as the process continues."
HB 3 now moves to a conference committee made up of Senators and Representatives from the Texas House to iron out differences between the two versions. The version approved by the Senate includes the following highlights:
- Property tax rate cap reduced 20 cents per $100 valuation in 2006 and another 5 cents in 2007, with rate dropping a total of 40 cents (from current $1.50 to $1.10) by 2010.
- Provides $4.8 billion overall property tax relief for 06-07.
- Closes Delaware and Geoffrey Loopholes.
- Franchise tax repealed by January 1, 2008.
- Sales tax rate increases by half a cent.
- Additional $1 per pack tax placed on cigarettes.
- Alcohol taxes increase by 20 percent.
SENATOR JANE NELSON, R-LEWISVILLE, represents District 12, which includes parts of Tarrant and Denton counties.