Dan Patrick: Property tax relief, ‘bathroom bill’ could be up to voters

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (KXAN Photo)
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With Texas lawmakers failing to finish their work during the legislation session, Gov. Abbott is expected to call everyone back to work soon.

The leader of the Texas Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, says his key issues like property tax relief and the so-called bathroom bill could be up to voters.

When asked why not chalk it up as a win and let everyone go home, the lieutenant governor replied, “We passed all 30 of our priorities out of the Senate. Twenty of them in one form or the other will become law. But property taxes, that passed the Senate again, and Texas Privacy, that passed the Senate again — are two important issues to the public. And they didn’t pass.”

Patrick says the person who stopped those items was Speaker of the House Joe Straus. The Speaker feared a business backlash if they restricted bathroom use to biological sex.

Straus wanted to address property tax relief by increasing the amount of money the state gives to education. Patrick says if the speaker would put the issues up for a vote in his chamber, they would pass.

“I can’t imagine a Republican, at least one who wants to get re-elected, voting against helping to reform and slow down the growth of property taxes, so I think it would pass,” Patrick said.

The ballot box is where this is all headed. The closer the special session is to next year’s Republican primary, more pressure will be on lawmakers to act.

“At some point, the members of the House will say wait a minute, enough is enough,” Patrick said. “Because look, all the House members are up for election every two years. They’re all up for election. They are going to go home and people are going to say, I want property tax relief. I don’t want my son and daughter showering together in the 10th grade, what are you going to do about it.”

Lawmakers just left town Monday, but they could soon be back in Austin when Gov. Abbott gives the word.

A spokesperson for Speaker Straus tells KXAN that he’s proud of the House’s effort to lower property taxes by setting aside more state money for education. He says it would have kept more local tax dollars in local schools for districts like Austin ISD.

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