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Texas

What will Texas legislators spend the extra $32 billion on?

DALLAS. To say that Texas legislators have tons of money to support their legislative dreams would be a huge understatement.

In fact, the budget surplus here in Texas is so big, a record $32.7 billion, that it’s more than the entire budget of 29 other states.

“So when we get down to business in this session, the first thing we need to talk about is that there are about 33 billion reasons why we should be bipartisan and pragmatic,” Democratic Representative Trey Martinez Fischer told us at Y ‘all. -itiki.

And this windfall will be the root cause of much friction and strife in this session as lawmakers decide who gets how much.

One of the top priorities will be to try to lower our property taxes.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick recently told us he wants to raise the homestead tax exemption for Texas homeowners from $40,000 to $60,000, maybe even higher this session. Homestead tax exemption reduces the taxable value of a Texan’s primary residence.

State Rep. Craig Goodman says a debate on valuation reform is also to be expected, as many homeowners never actually experience a property tax cut because their home’s value continues to rise, wiping out any savings.

The Republican from Fort Worth has just been elected chairman of the Republican Party caucus in the Texas House, so his vote will go a long way in this session.

“We are all in favor of lowering property taxes. We know this is one of the biggest complaints our constituents talk to us about every single day. We feel it too. But we have to make it sustainable,” Goldman said.

Meanwhile, as the new chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, Martinez Fischer will also play a key role in the debate.

And the San Antonio Democrat tells us that while a property tax cut sounds great, it won’t benefit all Texans, like renters.

He sees the budget surplus as a chance to help many Texans in financial hard times, so he would like to discuss sending inflation relief payments directly to Texans and letting them choose how they spend it.

“We know times are tough. We’re going to give it to you,” the Democrat said. “If you want to buy medicine, you can buy medicine. If you want to cut taxes, you can cut taxes. Do you want to help your son or daughter pay for college? We’ll give you that flexibility.”

Budget aside, the Jasons also see some political hotspots that could dominate the session, from whether minors should be banned from social media to a potential increase in the minimum age to purchase firearms. Listen to the full episode of Y’all-itics to learn more. To your health!

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