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Eye on Politics: a Deal on Property Tax Relief at the Texas Capitol

NORTH TEXAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan reached an agreement to provide Texans property tax relief after their month-long standoff at the Capitol. The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz has intensified. And conservative groups have launched billboards and a website to defend impeached and suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton.  

Finally, a deal

Property tax relief will soon be on the way to Texas home and business owners. The Texas Legislature passed three bills aimed at cutting the school portion of your property tax bill. 

On Thursday evening, both the House and Senate passed three bills worth $18 billion in property tax cuts. Here’s what the legislation does: 

It reduces the school property tax rate for all homeowners and businesses.

The homestead exemption will increase to $100,000 for most homeowners, and to $110,000 for homeowners over 65 and for those who are disabled.

For a home valued at $330,000—the average in Texas—lawmakers said that’s worth about $2,600 in savings during the first two years for most homeowners, and about $3,000 during the first two years for homeowners over 65 and/or disabled. 

The legislation also limits increases on appraised values for commercial and non-homestead residential properties.

The measure provides savings to small businesses by increasing the exemption on the franchise tax to nearly $2.5 million.

Lawmakers said it means 67,000 small businesses in Texas won’t have to pay the franchise tax at all.

The bills now head to Governor Greg Abbott to sign.

After the House passed the bills, we spoke with Speaker Phelan about the new deal, when lawmakers will provide new money for public schools and teacher pay raises, and more. 

Who’s challenging Sen. Ted Cruz?

The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Texas is intensifying. 

This week, State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes San Antonio and Uvalde, announced he’s hoping to unseat two-term Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. 

He entered the race two months after North Texas Congressman Colin Allred (D-Richardson) launched his bid for U.S. Senate.  

In a one-on-one interview, Gutierrez told Jack why he’s running:   

“At the end of the day, Ted Cruz has been part of a problem in this state, in the United States, that has been nothing more than a cancer.”  

Gutierrez has become one of the strongest advocates in the Texas Legislature for increasing restrictions on gun sales

Before he can challenge Cruz in a general election, Gutierrez must first win the Democratic primary and beat Congressman Colin Allred of Richardson, who launched his bid in early May.

 Since then, Allred has raised more than $6 million and has $8.6 million in his campaign account.

Conservative groups push back against Texas House impeachment of AG Ken Paxton

The Defend Texas Liberty PAC has put up a billboard around Republican State Rep. Glenn Rogers’ House district in Parker, Palo Pinto and Stephens counties.

The billboard says he voted with 61 Democrats in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment. 

“I voted the way I felt was the right way to vote,” Rogers told CBS News Texas Wednesday. “Over 70% of Republicans voted the same way I did. So, they conveniently left that fact off. But our voters are smart enough to see that. We did not convict Ken Paxton. We merely said there was enough evidence to move this case to trial.”

Rogers said he heard from constituents who supported his decision and from those who sharply criticized it. 

“There are a number of people upset about the impeachment and I can understand that because Ken Paxton has done a lot for Texas,” he said. “He fought back against some of the liberal Biden policies.”

Luke Macias, the director of the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, said this is something the PAC “has done consistently with liberal Republicans wherever they are in the state.”

He continued to say that they “will communicate to voters via any and all communication methods to ensure that they really know what’s going on.”

Paxton’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins September 5. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has called the impeachment a sham. Senators will decide whether Paxton will get to keep his job or be removed from the office.

Source : CBSNews