AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Legislature ended the regular legislative session Monday evening with top priorities left on the table.
Lawmakers worked all day to finalize a last-second deal on legislation to lower property taxes. The two chambers have been at an intractable impasse all session, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan arguing their plans will save Texans more money.
The legislature was constitutionally required to end their business by midnight Monday. The Texas Constitution prescribes 140-day legislative sessions in odd-numbered years. The 88th session began on June 10.
This month, the House passed legislation that would raise the homestead exemption to $100,000 and to $110,000 for seniors. That legislation would also limit the amount a home’s value can raise year-over-year to 5%. The current appraisal cap is 10%.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out what he said were the terms of the negotiations on Twitter Monday afternoon. In response to KXAN reporting, based on accounts from lawmakers and staff, that the House had agreed to a $100,000 homestead exemption and retreated from appraisal cap pushes, Lt. Gov. Patrick said, “this rumor is an absolute lie.”
“We would have taken that deal all day and provided Texans with the largest property tax relief in history. The Speaker’s last offer was an 8% appraisal cap for all commercial properties, which would cost taxpayers billions upon billions of dollars in just a few years. Governor Abbott was present. If Phelan drops the 8% cap for business property, then we have a deal. There is still time,” he wrote on Twitter.
There is no time left now.
Lawmakers expect to return almost immediately for a special session. Gov. Abbott has the power to call the legislature back to business to address topics he defines. Speaker Dade Phelan advised members not to pack their bags and to expect a proclamation from the governor soon.