In an ongoing crusade to reduce taxes on Texas homeowners, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tasked state senators with studying the cost of completely eliminating property taxes.

The request comes eight months after Texas lawmakers approved $18 billion in property tax cuts. Patrick, who oversees the Senate and largely controls which bills the chamber passes, created a 57-item to-do list for senators to complete before the next legislative session begins in January.

The third-term Republican also directed legislators to look into housing affordability, access to health care, and increased regulations on Delta 8 and 9 hemp products.

“Come January 2025, the Senate will hit the ground running at the start of the 89th legislative session,” Patrick said in a news release. “The priorities of the conservative majority of Texans will be accomplished, including school choice, continued property tax relief and strengthening the power grid.”

What you need to know

Patrick asked the Senate Finance Committee to identify the best way to continue reducing property taxes as well as determine how much it would cost to eliminate school maintenance and operations taxes, all school district property taxes or all property taxes.

The state does not impose property taxes on Texas homeowners, who are instead taxed by various entities such as their cities, counties, hospital districts and school districts.

Senators should consider where Texas would get the large sum of needed money to pay for the tax cuts and whether that would impact the state’s ability to respond to emergencies, Patrick said.

“For example, determine the effect on other state programs if general revenue were used to fully replace school property taxes, particularly during economic downturns,” he wrote of the agenda item.

The lieutenant governor instructed senators on the Local Government Committee to discuss how to increase voter input on tax rates and consider how to dissolve certain taxing entities, such as tax increase reinvestment zones.

Looking back

It took lawmakers seven months to reach an agreement on property tax relief last year, with the House and Senate frequently sparring over the best way to substantially cut taxes. Patrick was a fierce advocate for increasing property tax exemptions on Texans’ primary homes from $40,000 to $100,000, while Gov. Greg Abbott pushed to reduce school district taxes by funneling additional state money into schools. Both proposals made it into the final deal.

In June, Abbott said lawmakers were on their way to abolishing school property taxes.

Patrick appeared to disagree, saying in a statement that “to do so would require increasing the sales tax dramatically, which clearly has no support from the Legislature or the people. The only other pathway is using current sales tax dollars, which can never be achieved.”

More details

Patrick also directed senators to examine possible changes to standardized testing for K-12 students, the future of Texas’ electric grid, the state’s role in regulating artificial intelligence and more.

Committees should submit reports on their findings and policy recommendations by Dec. 1, Patrick said.