Texas lawmakers fail to pass property tax bill

Texas lawmakers on Tuesday failed to pass property tax reform-- one of Gov. Greg Abbot’s top priorities-- and ended their special session one day early before the 30-day maximum limit.

Abbot called for the special session after a similar attempt failed earlier in the year, in conjunction with the controversial bathroom bill, which proposed limiting where transgender Texans can use the bathroom.

The House and Senate hit a stalemate over discussions Tuesday night regarding the tax bill that required voter approval if local governments raised property taxes exceeded a certain amount, said the bill's authorl, Rep. Dennis Bonnen R-Angleton, reported The Dallas Morning News.

The Senate wanted a four percent threshold, whereas the House was set on a six percent rate.

The decision to adjourn one day early left the Senate in a precarious position – either pass the House’s version of the property tax bill, or fail to produce on one of Abbot’s key legislative priorities.  

Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, refused to sign the bill, claiming it didn’t provide enough of a break for taxpayers – helping seal its fate as the Senate adjourned late Tuesday evening without approving the House version of the bill.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticized the House’s effort, saying "they quit on the taxpayers of Texas," citing multiple reports.

In a statement, Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Straus defended his colleagues, saying “the House was thoughtful, respectful and decisive in its solution-oriented approach."

Despite the property tax and bathroom bill failing to pass Tuesday night, Gov. Abbot’s spokesman, John Wittman said, “Our office believes this special session has produced a far better Texas than before.”