Legislature passes school finance reform before sessions ends


Lucas Barr

Days before the end of the session, the Texas Legislature passed HB 3 on school finance reform unanimously. The bill was months in making, undergoing much debate and revisions as legislators aimed to boost education funding.

Lucas Barr, Editor-in-chief

After pledging to make school finance the Texas Legislature’s top priority for the 86th session, HB 3 which provides $6.5 billion for schools, and teacher raises, along with $5.1 billion to help lower school district taxes, passed both the Texas House and Senate on Saturday, and now heads to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature, passing the bill into law.

“There has never been a more critical time to prioritize the needs of our students,” Abbott said in a statement. “This bill shows that as leaders of this state, we follow through on our commitment to Texas’ children by proving greater opportunity for all.”

Also on Saturday, the Legislature that passed a bill that requires voter approval for local property tax increases at different levels.

“The Texas legislature took a meaningful step in reinforcing private property rights by reining in the power of local taxing entities, providing more transparency to the property tax process, and enacting long awaited appraisal reforms,” Abbott said in a statement. “As Governor, I look forward to signing this bill into law for all Texans to ensure the Lone Star State remains the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Despite new required voter approval for property tax hikes, the state has still not found a permanent tax solution to the Robin Hood tax system.

“We all agree that Texas homeowners deserve a break,” state Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, said as reported by the Texas Tribune. “I still do not believe that tax caps or trigger elections or, for that matter, whatever term you want to use, will work to meaningfully — meaningfully — decrease the amount of money that home-owning Texans are going to pay.”