Major Items at the Legislature, as Usual, Wait Until the Final Hours

Between guns in churches, Chick fil-A, on line harassment, and other relatively minor issues, the three major priorities for the 2019 session appear to have been lost in the shuffle as the 2019 session is set to end in five days, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Education reform, property tax cuts, and, the only item the state constitution requres lawmakers to finish, a biennial state budget, remain on the back burner, as 'sine die' (Latin for 'without date,' the technical term for the final adjournment of the Legislature, because, unlike daily adjournments which 'adjourn pending reconvening at 10AM tomorrow,' this adjournment is done without a date for lawmakers to return) is repaidly approaching.

Political analyst Mark Jones says as negotiations continue, we can expect compromise measures to reach the floor of the House and Senate by this weekend.

"What comes out is goign to be a compromise that is going to provide some tax relief, but not as much relieve as people would like, and more money for education, but not as much more as people would like," Jones said.

He says one measure which is likely to be watered down by the conference committee, which is the 3.5% cap on local government revenue growth. Cities and counties are lobbying for a higher cap, which is the amount they will be allowed to raise tax revenue, including revenue raised by rising property values, without a vote of the taxpayers. The measure is a key priority of both Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick.

Jones says, don't count on 3.5%.

"It wouldn't shock me to seee that cap go up to 4% or 5%, if that is what it takes to get something passed," he said. "This is basically a negotiation between all three of these bills, with property taxes, education reform, and the budget all on the table at the same time."

So far there has been no indication of the need for a special session, which would take up some of these issues. There has been talk of a special session to reconsider a bill overturning San Antonio's mandatory sick leave ordinance, which died in the State Senate earlier this week.

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