Property tax relief, school finance top 2019 legislative session measures
The Texas Legislature passed a $250.7 billion budget on May 26 and approved several key bills highlighted by property tax relief and school finance reform.
Lawmakers set a 3.5 percent cap on local government property tax hikes and a 2.5 percent limit on school district property tax increases. Only by voter permission can those governments exceed the new maximums.
The taxation limits are part of a $11.6 billion school finance bill that includes an increase in per-student funding, extra compensation for teachers, and additional spending to reduce recapture’s impact on school districts.
Adding to the state’s spending is a $9.9 billion supplemental appropriations bill tacked on to the previous budget for Medicaid, Hurricane Harvey relief, teacher retirement, and the Texas Tomorrow Fund.
Other notable bills include:
- Restricting red-light cameras;
- Allowing off-premise beer sales at craft breweries;
- Creating a registry for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to get help who are suffering illnesses as a result of exposure to burn pits;
- Eliminating a backlog of about 15,000 rape kits; and,
- Legalizing the medical use of cannabis.
The deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to sign or veto bills is June 16. After that date, any unsigned bill or bill that is not vetoed becomes law.