The rift between the “conservative” Texas Senate and the more rational House chamber in the Texas legislature boiled over again this week as Dan Patrick threatened to take his toys and go home if the Legislature doesn’t give him what he wants. More specifically, Patrick has threatened a special legislative session unless the House passes property tax reform and a controversial (spelled worthless) bathroom bill. Not surprisingly, Gov. Greg Abbott is backing Patrick’s sentiments, no matter how ludicrous they may be.
The property tax “reform” Patrick is alluding to is nothing more than a ruse, a worthless bill disguised as property tax reform. As I have detailed before Senate Bill 2 is a conflicted, watered-down measure that simply scapegoats cities and counties as the primary causes of escalating property tax bills. SB-2 is part of Paul Bettencourt’s plan to “fix” the Texas property tax system. It likely never occurred to Dan Patrick that having a guy who runs a property tax protest firm chair the “reform” was a doomed effort from the start.
“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Sinclair
House Speaker Straus correctly called out Patrick and the Senate hypocrites who have consistently avoided school finance reform while reducing the state’s share of educational funding. This is important, because Bettencourt’s supposedly serious effort at property tax reform doesn’t even address school property taxes, the largest portion of most Texas property tax bills.
“Nobody can claim to be serious about property tax relief while consistently reducing the state’s share of education funding.” House Speaker Joe Straus
In a way I actually have some sympathy for Mr. Bettencourt. He and his Senate colleagues have invested a significant amount of time and effort (along with the public’s time and energy) in providing the appearance of property tax reform. I can only imagine what they could have accomplished had they taken the task seriously and looked beyond the wishes of their largest campaign donors and the business interests who like the current two-tiered property tax system.
The more ridiculous bathroom bill, Senate Bill 6 is the second part of Patrick’s supposedly must-pass measures for the not-so-conservative Senate. This worthless piece of legislation would regulate bathroom use in government buildings, public schools and universities based on biological sex. This was apparently a huge problem in Texas because those transgender types are clamoring for an opportunity to sneak into a bathroom and watch you pee. The bill is comical on its face, but I am even more ashamed to admit that the female senator (Lois Kolkhorst) who sponsored this piece of horse manure represents my district.
House Speaker, Joe Straus, called Patrick’s antics “regrettable”. I would say that’s being very kind. The term “laughable” also comes to mind.