SENATE TO CONSIDER SPENDING CAP AMENDMENT WEDNESDAY
|Lt. Governor David Dewhurst discusses the plan to bring up a resolution to address spending cap issues caused by last session's passed property tax cuts.|
(AUSTIN) — Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said today that the Senate will take up and consider a bill that would change the definition of certain kinds of spending to keep the state under its self-imposed spending cap. The Legislative Budget Board sets the percentage that state spending can increase each year, based on a number of economic indicators. This year, about $14 billion in state money is intended to go toward the local school property tax cuts passed in special session in 2006. Spending that money would put the state over the spending cap.
Senate Joint Resolution 13, by Waco Senator Kip Averitt, would redefine the state spending cap to stipulate that money spent on tax cuts does not count against this cap. Dewhurst says if this $14 billion were subject to the spending cap, Texas would have to cut government services by 20-40 percent. SJR 13 would send the issue before the voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.
The bill would also extend the one-third property tax cut to senior citizens. Past legislation froze the property tax for seniors at a rate lower than the former tax, but higher than the current one. Approval of SJR 13 would also permit voters to decide whether or not to extend these cuts to senior citizens.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, February 13th, at 11:00 a.m.