AUSTIN, Texas — The fight over property tax relief in Texas continues with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the state Senate, calling out the House's property tax legislation and Gov. Greg Abbott's support of that bill.
The Senate was still in session Tuesday evening after the governor called a special session on property taxes on May 30. The Texas House met on May 31, passed their version of a property tax bill and abruptly adjourned for the rest of the special session.
But, Patrick isn't backing down. He said the House version of the bill favors cutting taxes for businesses and does little to address tax reductions for homeowners.
"Homeowners weren't thinking about reducing property taxes for shopping centers of offices and every other complex you can think of or people out of state who own property here. They were thinking about themselves, rightfully so," Patrick said.
Patrick invited Abbott to a debate to discuss property taxes next week. The governor had previously endorsed the House version of the bill because he said it gets the state closer to eliminating property taxes.
Patrick argued that you can't entirely get rid of property taxes unless you raise sales taxes by around 20%.
KHOU 11's Gerald Harris reached out to both the governor and House Speaker Dade Phelan for a comment.
A spokesperson for Phelan's office gave us this statement:
“The Texas Senate is the only chamber that has not passed property tax reform and border security legislation in a way that is germane to Governor Abbott’s special session call. The House has passed the largest property tax cut in state history three times this year. In the special session, the House came to work, passed its bills with bipartisan support, and adjourned -- the Senate is keeping Texans waiting. We encourage the Senate to follow the House’s lead so that Texans can have the property tax relief and the secure border they deserve.”
In a press conference, Abbott spoke about his goals for property tax reform.
"When it comes to property taxes, what really needs to be done is to focus on reaching an agreement between the House and Senate," the governor said. "The good news is, we've already agreed to the amount, which is historic, $17.6 billion. Now, an agreement needs to be reached between the House and Senate to get a bill to my desk."
Abbott went on to say that he's looking for a bill that "achieves and moves towards transformational change in the state of Texas."
"One thing we've been involved in session after session is chiseling away at property taxes," he said. "We're going to stay focused on this until a solution is reached."
Watch Gov. Abbott's full response: