State lawmakers could turn attention to local government

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Local governments are preparing for the next legislative session and topics that could affect communities from utility issues to property taxes.

“The thing I am most worried about is a policy called revenue caps,” said Deece Eckstein, intergovernmental relations coordinator for Travis County.

Revenue caps essentially limit the amount a local government can raise property taxes.  They are an example of what panelists at the Leadership Austin Engage Breakfast Wednesday believe will be an effort by some state lawmakers to shrink government, which could extend to local government.

Audience members asked questions, including one about gun regulations. Another panelist, State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, said she believes open carry legislation will make it to Governor-Elect Greg Abbott’s desk this year. Abbott has said he will sign open carry legislation.

Other topics the panel believes will come up this legislative session include funding for education and discussion of Medicaid expansion. Texas is one of the states where lawmakers chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

John Hrncir, government relations officer with the City of Austin, was also a member of the Leadership Austin Engage Breakfast panel. The event Wednesday morning was moderated by KXAN News Anchor Shannon Wolfson. The breakfast was titled “Behind the Scenes of the Capitol: A Look at Texas’ Legislative Landscape from a Regional View.”

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