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With no deal on property taxes in sight, Abbott hints at multiple special sessions

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With no deal on property taxes in sight, Abbott hints at multiple special sessions

With no deal on property taxes in sight, Abbott hints at multiple special sessions” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Gov. Greg Abbott indicated Friday that one special session may not be enough to decide how to divvy up $12.3 billion in property tax breaks already appropriated by the Legislature.

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The governor also confirmed that he will call a future special session to deal with “school choice,” giving no time frame beyond saying it will take place “after we get property tax reform fixed.”

Recapping the regular legislative session at a Texas Public Policy Foundation event in Austin, Abbott touted a plan that the House approved this week at his request that would lower school district tax rates.

“If we do that, that will cut your property tax rate for school — maintenance and operation — by 29%,” Abbott said.

He made no mention of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who repeatedly criticized the Abbott-endorsed House plan at a Tuesday event hosted by the same right-wing think tank and in several pointed tweets this week.

Patrick argued that the plan favored by the Senate would bring greater tax relief to homeowners, as opposed to the Abbott-backed House plan, which would provide similar benefits to homeowners and commercial property owners.

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A Texas Tribune analysis of the proposals found homeowners would save $925 annually under the Senate plan and $486 a year under the House version.

In Friday's conversation with TPPF CEO Greg Sindelar, Abbott pitched the House plan as a step toward completely eliminating property taxes, a long-term goal of the think tank and many conservatives.

“We must dream big, dream the possibility that we can eliminate property taxes in Texas,” Abbott said. He drew applause when he repeated a refrain of anti-tax advocates: that property taxes are essentially the government forcing homeowners to pay annual rent on their land.

While the Senate plan would provide tax relief by raising the homestead exemption, the House plan would drive down tax rates, which is more beneficial to the goal of completely eliminating property taxes, the Tribune's analysis found.

Abbott's favored plan, however, drew no closer to passage Friday. The House approved its bill Tuesday and promptly adjourned, forcing the Senate to either accept it as is or wait for the governor to call another special session for lawmakers to try again.

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Patrick, who wields tremendous power over the Senate as its presiding officer, said the chamber would not budge. On Thursday, he took it a step further, saying the plan supported by Abbott and TPPF to eliminate all property taxes “is not realistic and everyone knows it.”

The Senate met Friday for the first time since the House adjourned. With most senators absent for the brief gathering, several border-related bills were referred to committee before the Senate adjourned until 6 p.m. Tuesday. No action was taken on the House-passed property tax bill.

Joshua Fechter contributed reporting.

Disclosure: Texas Public Policy Foundation has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.


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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/06/02/greg-abbott-special-session-property-taxes/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf in Yellowstone National Park fulfills Lakota prophecy

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abc13.com – AP – 2024-06-13 08:58:48

SUMMARY: A rare white buffalo calf, born in Yellowstone National Park, is seen as a fulfillment of Lakota prophecy and a sign to protect the earth, according to spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse. The calf’s birth follows a severe winter that resulted in the death or relocation of over 1,500 bison. Erin Braaten photographed the calf in the Lamar Valley. The birth holds deep spiritual significance for the Lakota, akin to the second coming of Jesus Christ. A ceremonial event celebrating the calf’s birth is planned for June 26, despite conflicting views on bison population management in Yellowstone.

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Tips on water conservation during summer drought months

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www.kxan.com – Rich Segal – 2024-06-13 08:16:59

SUMMARY: Recent rains have slightly improved the water levels in Lakes Buchanan and Travis, but water conservation remains crucial during the peak summer heat in Austin. To drought-proof lawns and plants, using a thick layer of mulch can help retain soil moisture. Indoor water conservation is also essential; leaks can waste up to 10,000 gallons annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meteorologist Rich Segal discussed water-saving tips with Elizabeth Simmons from the “Take Care of Texas” nonprofit, who highlighted optimal times for watering lawns and gardens for maximum efficiency.

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The post Tips on water conservation during summer drought months appeared first on www.kxan.com

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Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida is set to be demolished

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abc13.com – AP – 2024-06-13 07:29:42

SUMMARY: The three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died in a 2018 mass shooting, begins its demolition on Friday. Previously serving as evidence in the shooter’s trial, the building’s destruction was delayed due to heavy rain. The project aims to be completed before the school’s 3,300 students return from summer vacation. Families of victims have varied opinions on the demolition; some see it as a painful but necessary step in healing, while others wanted it preserved for educational purposes. The building’s removal follows precedents set by other sites of school shootings. The replacement plans remain undecided.

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The post Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida is set to be demolished appeared first on abc13.com

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