PRESS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2006
Contact: Daniel Womack
(512) 463-0124

FRASER PLEASED WITH PROPERTY TAX RELIEF

AUSTIN -- State Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) announced on Monday that he was pleased the Texas Legislature had reached a bipartisan solution on property tax relief. The Legislature overwhelmingly passed CSHB 1 which provides over $15 billion in property tax relief, a net tax cut of more than $6 billion.

"The Legislature has passed a comprehensive set of bills to solve the Supreme Court ruling on our property tax system," Fraser said. "This tax shift lowers local property taxes by one-third over two years. In addition, the bill package gives all teachers a $2,000 raise, includes a performance pay plan to reward classroom excellence, and requires schools to start class no earlier than the last week of August."

The Legislature was called into Special Session by Governor Perry to address the Supreme Court ruling that the state's method of financing public schools violated the constitutional prohibition against a state property tax.

To come up with the $5 billion needed to lower property taxes by one-third, the Legislature passed House Bill 3 earlier in the week which closes the franchise tax loophole. "Currently, only one in sixteen businesses pay the franchise tax," Fraser said. "This legal loophole had to be closed so we make certain that everyone is paying their fair share."

House Bill 1 provides relief to local property taxpayers by reducing rates by 17 cents in 2007 and an additional 33 cents in 2008. This reduction also provides the capacity for local enrichment to give school districts meaningful discretion as required by the Constitution.

"Because of the growth in our states economy, we were able to use part of our budget surplus to help lower local property taxes," Fraser said. "Additionally, we also increased the tax on cigarettes by $1.00, and while that is not a popular choice among smokers, the cigarette tax brings in a significant amount of money which will all be used in the lowering of property taxes."

The Legislature also passed House Bill 4 which directs buyers of used cars to report the accurate value of the car when paying their sales tax. House Bill 2 instructs that all the money raised from new taxes this special session be applied to property tax relief.

Other bills passed during the Special Session include House Bill 153 which authorizes tuition revenue bonds (TRBs) for higher education institutions. The bonds can be used to finance construction and improvements at our state supported universities.

"I am pleased at the growth of higher education opportunities in Senate District 24," Fraser said. "These TRBs will help institutions in Central Texas and others around the state by ensuring they have an adequate opportunity to continue to grow and succeed."

"One of the most important jobs the Legislature has is to ensure the education of our children," Fraser said. "These bills provide much needed property tax relief, while also providing new money for Texas schools."

All of the bills now go before the Governor for his approval and signature.

Senator Fraser represents a 21-county region in the geographic center of the state. He is the Chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. He also sits on the following standings Senate Committees: Natural Resources, State Affairs, and International Relations and Trade.

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