FINANCE COMMITTEE PASSES HB 1, HB 5
The Senate Finance Committee today approved the last two components of a five-bill tax reform package that seeks to change the school finance system in Texas. Though both bills faced opposition from some committee members, the bills will make their way to the Senate floor some time next week.
House Bill 1 would cut the property tax rate by 17 cents per $100 valuation, which lawmakers believe will conform to the Supreme Court's challenge by giving school districts adequate discretion in setting their local property tax rates. The bill also contains provisions for increased accountability and transparency standards for public schools, a re-alignment of the education curriculum to prepare students for college, and a $2000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers.
House Bill 5 seeks to make up for some of the funding lost from the property tax cut by raising the per-pack cigarette tax by $1.
The House today sent House Bill 2, which dedicates funds raised by the new tax package to property tax cuts, back to the Senate on a point of order. The parliamentary challenge was upheld on the grounds that one amendment added in the Senate was not germane to the bill. The bill will now have to go back to the Finance Committee and then pass the Senate again before it can be considered by the House.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, May 8, at 2 p.m.