LEGISLATURE CONCLUDES SPECIAL SESSION
After two regular sessions and four special sessions, the House and Senate adjourned the third called session of the 79th Legislature with a school finance fix and a property tax cut. Five bills to change the way the state pays for public education now lie on the governor's desk to be signed and passed into law.
The five bill tax package does several things. It would reduce property taxes by one-third by 2008, and would create a broad-based business tax on gross receipts for companies that earn over $300,000. It would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by one dollar, and would require used car purchasers to pay sales tax on at least 80 percent of the blue book value of the car.
The plan also includes provisions for more money toward education, increasing the amount of money for schools per student, and providing a $2000 pay raise for teachers and support staff, as well as incentive based bonus pay for certain teachers. The bills would increase accountability, equity and transparency for all Texas school districts.
The Senate also took the opportunity today to honor five outgoing members for whom today was likely their last day on the floor as Texas Senators. Frank Madla, Ken Armbrister, Gonzalo Barrientos, Todd Staples and Jon Lindsay will all leave their offices when their terms expire in January, and with them goes more than 110 years of legislative experience.
The Senate stands adjourned sine die.