ANALYSIS: Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Says Gov. Abbott 'Misinformed' on House's Property Relief Plan

ANALYSIS: Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Says Gov. Abbott 'Misinformed' on House's Property Relief Plan
Texas Republican State Sens. Paul Bettencourt (center), Tan Parker (3rd from left) and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (2nd from left) held a press conference at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on March 14, 2023. (Courtesy Team Bettencourt)
Jana J. Pruet
News Analysis

Continued infighting among three of Texas’ top Republican lawmakers is sparking more tension in the state’s Capitol following the House's impeachment of the attorney general.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took to social media to call out Gov. Greg Abbott's accolades for the House’s unanimous passage of its property tax cut bill, which was followed by a swift adjournment by House Speaker Dade Phelan.

"Governor Abbott released a statement this evening where he said, 'The Texas House is the only chamber that passed a property tax cut bill that is germane to the special session that I called to provide Texans with property tax relief,'" Patrick said in a statement posted on Twitter on May 30.
Abbott declared he would hold as many "special sessions as it takes to sign a law that provides the largest property tax cut in the history of Texas. My plan does the most to cut your property taxes."

But Patrick has taken aim at Abbott's comments and his taking credit for the House's property tax cut bill.

“He seems misinformed about the roles of the executive and legislative branches of government. While the Governor has the sole authority to call the Legislature into Session, the Legislature writes the bills—the courts have been crystal clear on this,” he continued.

State's Top Leaders Out of Alignment

Patrick, Abbott, and Phelan met the night before the regular session ended on May 29. But the Republican leaders could not strike a deal on property tax cut legislation.
On Monday, Patrick said that Phelan "left a meeting in a huff" the night before the regular session ended, with himself and Abbott “killing the largest property tax cut in history by demanding an appraisal cap for business commercial properties that most business associations don’t even want."
The regular session ended without passing a number of Abbott’s top priorities for the 88th Texas Legislative session, prompting Abbott to order that lawmakers reconvene for "special session #1" at 9 p.m. on May 29.

"Special session #1 will focus only on cutting property taxes and cracking down on illegal human smuggling," Abbott said at the time. "We must cut property taxes. During the regular session, we added $17.6 billion to cut property taxes. However, the legislature could not agree on how to allocate funds to accomplish this goal.

"Texans want and need a path towards eliminating property taxes. The best way to do that is to direct property tax reduction dollars to cut school property tax rates."

Multiple sessions are expected to cover the priorities not passed during the regular session.

On Tuesday evening, Phelan posted on Twitter, “Strengthening the border [checkmark], Providing Texans with the largest state property tax cut in American history [checkmark]. Sine Die [checkmark].”

Take It or Leave It

Phelan’s move delivered a strong message to Patrick, his Senate counterpart, that he has no intention of negotiating with the Senate on the agenda items.

The House adjournment means that the session has ended for the House. The Senate can accept the House version of the bills or not deliver on the items the governor ordered.

"When Governor Abbott declared a special session yesterday evening, we had every intention of gaveling in this morning, fulfilling the governor's call, and gaveling out. I am proud to say that's exactly what happened in the Texas House today," Phelan said in a statement after the House adjourned the first special session sine die, KEYE-TV reported.

Speaker Phelan has been at the center of contention among Republicans who oppose the House’s unprecedented move to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton on May 27 following a secret investigation by the House General Investigating Committee.

Shortly after Phelan adjourned the House, Abbott issued his statement applauding House lawmakers for passing the property tax cut bill (pdf), adding that he looks forward to signing the measure.

“It provides more cuts to property tax rates than any other proposal at this time. It is supported by the most respected think tank in the state, as well as more than 30 homeowner, consumer, and business groups across the state. I look forward to signing it when it reaches my desk,” the governor said.

But on Tuesday, the Senate also unanimously passed its own version of the border security and property tax cut bills, along with a joint resolution that would give voters an opportunity to decide on increasing the homestead exemption to allow more Texans to be exempt from the property tax.

A homestead exemption is a permanent reduction of the amount you are taxed on your home, Lt. Gov. and president of the Senate Patrick said.

Currently, the homestead exemption is $40,000. So if your home is valued at $250,000, you will be taxed at $210,000. The Senate is proposing to increase the exemption to $100,000.

No Plans to Throw in the Towel

The lawmakers appear more aligned on the border security bill. But Patrick is not ready to concede on the Senate's expanded property tax measure.
"If the House thinks after abandoning the Capitol and walking out on the Special Session [that] the Senate is going to pass their 'take it or leave it' property tax bill without a homestead exemption, they are mistaken," Patrick wrote in a separate Twitter post on Wednesday afternoon.
Senate Bill 1 (pdf) would cut the school districts' maximum compressed tax rate and increase the homestead exemption for homeowners.

Patrick said Texas homeowners expected more relief on their property taxes when Abbott was re-elected for a third term in November.

“Governor Abbott has finally shown his cards. He chooses to give homeowners 50% less of a tax cut, nearly $700 a year, to give corporations more,” Patrick said. “This is not what homeowners expected when they voted for him.”

House Bill 1 is solely based on compression, per Abbott’s agenda request, while the Senate plan includes compression, along with increasing the homestead exemption.

The House plan would bring property tax relief to all property owners, including businesses.

State Rep. Charlie Geren asked Phelan about a parliamentary inquiry on SB 1 during Tuesday's session. He asked if the Senate's plan was germane to the governor's request. Phelan said it wasn't and that it would not be moved through the House.
"The Senate is still working. The House can return. Our bill legally fits the call," Patrick said. "Our bill is simple — dedicating about 70% of the $17.6 billion to compression for all properties, with the remaining 30% going to a $100,000 homestead exemption."
Patrick shared, "Everything you wanted to know about Compression, Exemptions, and more ...” in a Twitter post, accompanied by a four-minute video.

Compression reduces the school tax rate by 5 to 20 cents (whatever the rate is in a particular session), and the state picks up the amount to pay the school district instead of you, Patrick explained. He said that the House's "all-compression" plan would also take away the homestead exemption unanimously passed by the House during the regular session.

"Remember, an exemption is permanent. Compression is not," Patrick wrote. "When I became Lt. Governor in 2015, the state homestead exemption had been $15,000 for many years. I've increased it to $40,000."

The last homestead exemption increase from $25,000 to $40,000 was passed by lawmakers during the 87th Legislative session and approved by voters in May 2022. The Senate's homestead exemption increase, if approved, would be the biggest in the state's history.

"Under the Senate plan, you only get $700 a year in tax savings," according to Patrick. "Under our Senate plan, with compression and exemptions, you get $1,250-$1,450 a year. That's $700 more than the House and apparently the Governor wants to give you," he added.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Abbott's office for comment.

Jana is an award-winning investigative journalist. She covers news in Texas with a focus on politics, energy, and crime. Jana has reported for many media outlets over the years, including Reuters, The Dallas Morning News, and TheBlaze, among others. She has a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University. Send your story ideas to: