Governor's School Finance Overhaul Passed By Texas Senate, Heads To Showdown With House

Chris Fox
May 07, 2019 - 11:53 am
Texas Capitol Building

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - After more than 4 hours of debate over 80 proposed amendments the Texas Senate passed House Bill 3 (HB3) on Monday by a vote of 26-3 with 3 present not voting.

The bill would infuse at least $9 billion into Texas public schools, establish $5,000 pay raises for teachers and librarians, funds for full-day Pre K for 4-year olds from low income families and gives property tax relief. 

State Senator Larry Taylor chairs the Senate Education Committee and helped draft the House legislation. “This has been a labor of love…it’s been very difficult at times, it’s been stressful but it’s for 5.4 million students today and the millions that come to follow, and it’s worth every minute of it.”

The Senate Committee substitute for HB3 passed favorably last week included a tax swap deal being pushed by Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. It called for a one cent sales tax increase to fund the property tax relief found in the bill. 

The tax swap wording was removed from the Senate version of the bill through an amendment proposed by Senator Kirk Watson. It would create a separate Tax Reduction and Excellence in Education Fund. The fund would generate money from the severance tax on oil and gas extraction and an online sales tax. Watson says the plan would generate $2.3-billion dollars per year without raising taxes.

$5,000 teacher and librarian pay raises are also a sticking point between the House and Senate versions of HB3.

All of the differences will have to be hashed out by representatives of the State House and Senate in Conference Committee before Governor Abbott signs it into law.