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House Democrats’ tax plan would help renters

July 12, 2023 - 00:00
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Texas House Democrats unveiled a $20.9 billion plan for property tax relief that drops tax rates, increases the homestead exemption, gives annual rebates to renters, and includes pay raises for teachers, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The newest proposal comes as the Legislature continues wrangling over the issue in the second special session this year.

The bill, proposed by Rep. John Bryant, D-Dallas, is a combination of previous proposals with the added wrinkle of providing benefits for renters, who do not directly pay property taxes. The proposal also would raise the state’s per-student funding to public schools by $1,000 and give a permanent annual raise of $4,300 for teachers.

“Our effort is one that recognizes that you can’t talk about property taxes without talking about public education,” Bryant said of his proposal to raise the state’s basic allotment for school funding by $1,000.

The Senate has already passed a proposal to increase the homestead exemption to $100,000 and give a $2,000 pay hike for teachers in urban districts and a $6,000 increase to teachers in rural districts over the next two years.

Paxton won’t testify at impeachment trial Attorney General Ken Paxton won’t testify at his upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate, according to his lead defense attorney, Tony Buzbee.

“We will not bow to their evil, illegal, and unprecedented weaponization of state power in the Senate chamber,” Buzbee said. The Senate could still try to force Paxton to testify, but Buzbee’s statement makes it apparent the defense would fight those efforts, the Statesman reported.

The House impeached Paxton in late May on 20 counts of misusing his office and other alleged crimes. He was immediately suspended from office pending the trial, which is set for Sept. 5. The rules adopted by the Senate give Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as presiding officer the “power to compel the attendance of witnesses.”

Paxton was indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015. In 2020, several whistleblowers in his office claimed he had abused his powers to assist Austin developer Nate Paul, who was charged in June with eight felony counts of making false statements to lenders.

Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, and Cedar Park. Email: gborders@