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Eye on Politics: Property tax relief approved by Texas voters

Eye on Politics: Property tax relief approved by Texas voters
Eye on Politics: Property tax relief approved by Texas voters 23:51

NORTH TEXAS ( — Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a statewide ballot proposition to give homeowners a break on their property taxes this week. 

Special session four is underway in Austin, with Gov. Greg Abbott trying again to convince rural Republican House lawmakers to pass his school choice, or school voucher bill; and some Democrats are concerned over polls showing President Joe Biden would lose to former President Donald Trump in a number of battleground states. 

Jack covers these stories and more in this week's edition of Eye on Politics (original air date: Nov. 9).  

Every week, CBS News Texas political reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories grabbing headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above and stream new episodes live every Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. on CBS News Texas.

Election night takeaways 

Property tax relief is on the way for more than 5.7 million Texas homeowners after voters approved Prop 4 on the statewide ballot Tuesday. It increases the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 for most homeowners. 

On election night, one of the state senators who pushed for this, Republican Paul Bettencourt of Houston, told Jack this is permanent relief now in the Texas constitution. 

"We're going to continue to cut tax rates as values go up," Bettencourt said. "This is going to be very long-lasting. It's a record $18 billion for property tax relief. And there hasn't been that big of a number anywhere in the United States that we can find."

The only statewide proposition of the 14 on the ballot that failed was Prop 14. It would have raised the mandatory retirement age for state judges and justices from 75 to 79.

There were also school bond measures on many Texans' ballots. 

In the fast-growing Prosper I.S.D., a bond package worth nearly $2.8 billion was on the ballot -- the most expensive bond in North Texas.  

Much of it came from Prop A, which was approved. It sends $2.4 billion to build schools and renovate existing campuses.

Voters also gave their thumbs up to Prop B and D. One is for $140 million to be used for new technology for students and teachers. The other is for $125 million for a new performing arts facility. 

But when it came to Prop C, which included $95 million for a new district-wide football stadium, voters rejected it. At one point, it was so close there was only a one-vote difference.

Watch the video below to hear Prosper I.S.D. parents share their thoughts on the bond package:

Prosper Independent School District parents share thoughts on $2.4B bond measure 04:49

We found similar trends at other North Texas school districts that held bond elections. In Lewisville and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw I.S.D., voters approved propositions for classrooms and technology, but not for athletic facilities.

Read more about the results from Tuesday night's elections here.

Special Session 4

Gov. Greg Abbott made it official this week and called a fourth special session, as we reported he would for the past couple of weeks. 

On his agenda: 

  • A plan to use taxpayer money to subsidize private school for some students -- also known as school choice or school vouchers
  • A boost in funding for public schools
  • Teacher pay raises
  • Border security

When it comes to border security, House and Senate lawmakers have introduced identical bills to spend $1.5 billion on a state border wall. In addition, there's now another attempt to make it a state crime to enter Texas illegally.

Jack spoke with Republican State Rep. David Spiller of Jacksboro about his bill. Watch that conversation below: 

Eye on Politics: One-on-One with TX Rep. David Spiller 15:42

Panic over the polls

Some Democrats expressed anxiety, concern and frustration this week after a New York Times-Siena College poll showed President Joe Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in five of six battleground states. On Thursday, an Emerson College poll showed similar results.

Jack spoke with Regina Montoya of Dallas, Co-Chair of The Presidente Council of the Biden-Harris campaign about this. 

Watch the full interview below:

Eye on Politics: One-on-One with Regina Montoya 11:12
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