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Texas

Bell County State Legislator Focused on Reimbursing Cities Ahead of the 88th Legislature.

AUSTIN, TX (KWTX) – The 88th Legislative Session begins Tuesday at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. State legislators will have to decide on more than 1,500 bills, and the number continues to grow. They will also have to agree on how to spend the historic $188.2 billion budget.

Rep. Hugh Shine (R-55) told KWTX News 10 that he would like the state to allocate more money to cities that are eligible for the property tax exemption.

Disabled veterans in eligible cities such as Harker Heights and Nolanville are currently eligible for 100% property tax exemption under state law.

“The state should reimburse communities that have a military presence so they don’t lose that money,” Rep. Shine said. “This is critical for firefighters, police, water and infrastructure.”

A new state area map means it is now the voice of the people of Harker Heights and Nolanville, two cities bordering Fort Hood.

“These two communities have been hit more than any other communities in terms of percentage and per capita,” Rep. Shine said.

But this is not the first attempt by state legislators to address this issue. Most recently, Rep. Brad Buckley (R-54) proposed a similar bill in the legislature’s final session in 2021. Rep. Buckley was formerly state legislator for Nolanville and Harker Heights prior to redistricting.

“In 2015, the legislature created a pool of about $19 million, but the real impact is more like $350 million,” Rep. Shine said.

However, Rep. Shine hopes his version will sway lawmakers this time around.

“Unless you are an individual who is not on the exemption, they will have to increase your property tax rate,” he said. “The state must step up. We will make sure that the state is activated.”

Rep. Shine said education is another of his priorities. He co-sponsored another bill that would fully fund education based on total enrollment rather than daily attendance.

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