Republicans Need to Lead on Property Taxes, Not Bicker About It.
Konni Burton, Founder and CEO, The Texan
Everything is bigger in Texas and — as every homeowner knows — that includes our property taxes.
Texans have long demanded relief, but this legislative session is already nearing its end and we still have no idea if the Republican controlled Senate and House will come to an agreement on the type of appraisal reform offered — if any.
Unfortunately, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan are publicly feuding over the path forward to reforming taxes and appraisals, while Gov. Greg Abbott has talked up a good game but offered no actual game plan.
Patrick claims the public is on his side by pointing to a poll released this past week by the Texas Association of Property Tax Professionals. But upon closer look, the poll actually shows Texans would welcome either chamber’s appraisal reform plan.
During my time in the Senate, I saw this same kind of feuding between Lt. Gov. Patrick and then Speaker Joe Straus. It’s a ridiculous game of cat and mouse between the House and Senate to see who will blink first over each chamber’s priority legislation. And this “competition” festers and rears its ugly head among the state reps and senators too. There’s retribution, stalling, and childish antics between the two chambers when each doesn’t get their way.
I hated it then, and I hate it now.
So it comes as no surprise that they’re at it again. What is so frustrating to me is, this isn’t the typical Republican vs. Democrat major policy disagreements that we’d all expect, but rather Republicans fighting each other on an issue that they should gladly be working together on to solve!
Republican leadership and Republican elected officials need to set aside personal egos and show voters they are united and working together to solve this pressing issue for their fellow Texans.
Republicans have all three branches in Texas government and have had for at least 20 years now. But if Patrick and Phelan want to keep the political map from looking as blue as the weather map in February 2021, then they need to stop this public squabbling and show voters Republicans can work together, not act like quarreling children.
It is time they get in a room, talk face to face, and come to an agreement on relieving the crushing weight of property taxes. And frankly, if they don’t initiate it on their own, Gov. Abbott needs to step in and make it happen.
There is good news. They both actually already agree on a major component of the property tax plan. The bad news is that both men seem hell bent on digging in their heels over one aspect of it — with the possibility of derailing it all.
From the Battle of the Alamo to the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Texans have a proud history of tackling tough problems head-on. The property tax problem is no different and Republicans need to show us they are united.
We have a massive budget surplus. We have a bureaucracy with more state boards and commissions than the number of counties in Texas.
It shouldn’t be that hard for Republicans to unite on reining in our bloated government and take the burden off of everyday Texans. And when they do that, they’ll secure the Republican majority for years to come.