Lt. Gov. Patrick urges support for propositions

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doesn’t believe property taxes should be the backbone of governmental funding, so he’s traveling the state to drum up support for a proposition to lower property taxes without cutting the money going to schools.

Patrick was in Corpus Christi Monday, and stopped at the airport for a brief meeting with reporters to talk about the seven propositions Texans will vote on next month. His emphasis, however, was on propositions 1 and 7.

The first, which aims to raise the homestead property tax exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, is the first step of a long-term plan to dissociate property tax from increasing appraisal values to alleviate the financial strain on Texans, he said.

Speaking passionately, Patrick said the concept of property appraisals — and property taxes — rising 7-to-9 percent annually while incomes only grow 2-to-3 percent “just doesn’t work.”

He added the state Legislature budgeted $600 million this year to pay school districts any shortfalls in their funding that stem from property tax revenue declining if the proposition is approved. That $600 million comes from the growth in the Texas economy, not from cuts to other government agencies, he explained.

The last proposition on the ballot, and the second one Patrick emphasized Monday, also puts the state’s growing sales tax revenue to use. Proposition 7 would allow the Legislature to designate a portion of sales tax revenue to the Texas Department of Transportation for highway construction projects across the state.

Patrick estimated the proposition would inject Texas roadways with about $2.5 billion annually if approved, and he said not approving it could stunt the state’s growth.

Texas voters will decide on Nov. 3.

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