Watch CBS News

Gov. Greg Abbott pushes for his plan to cut property taxes

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to push his plan
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to push his plan 02:43

AUSTIN ( – Gov. Greg Abbott insisted Friday that Texas should gradually eliminate the portion of your property tax bill that pays for public schools. "We must go big; we must dream big. Dream the possibility that we can eliminate property taxes in Texas. You got to dream it and then you got to do it."

Abbott's remarks come as he and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are locked in a philosophical debate over how to lower property taxes, which has brought the Legislature to a standstill.

Abbott called lawmakers back into special session Monday night after the House and Senate ended the regular legislative session without agreeing on legislation to provide Texans with relief.

The only legislators did agree on is allocating $17.6 billion in property tax savings to property owners.

The money will come from the state's nearly $33 billion surplus.

On the first day of the special session, the House passed a bill requested by Abbott and the Senate approved a different bill favored by Patrick.

Until both the House and Senate pass the same legislation, they can't send it to the governor to sign into law.

During remarks Friday at the Texas Public Policy Foundation or TPPF, a conservative-leaning research institute, Abbott said, "I can't tell you when property taxes will be resolved. We may be here awhile."

Both he and Patrick are also debating each other on Twitter. 

Under Abbott's plan, the state would shift sales tax, other state revenues, and surplus money to pay for public schools

That would allow the state to gradually reduce the rate for school maintenance and operations or "M&O" property tax until it's eliminated altogether in 10 years.

He said it would benefit homeowners and business owners.

The plan by Patrick and Texas Senate would also include that provision, but in addition, raise the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 for most homeowners and from $70,000 to $110,000 for homeowners over 65.

Patrick has said that will provide nearly double the savings for homeowners. 

Earlier in the week, Patrick pushed for his plan during a conversation with TPPF. 

Patrick has said that Abbott's plan is unrealistic and that the state can't afford to eliminate the school portion of the property tax without more than doubling the state sales tax.

Abbott disagreed and said the state can afford to do this. "Now some people say well, gosh, we just can't afford it. Like I said before, there've been doubters about the Texas will power in the past. There've been people who've questioned our vision, but one thing Texans prove, we're capable of doing it." 

On Tuesday, Patrick told CBS News Texas' Jack Fink that if sales tax revenues drop, the state wouldn't have money to pay its bills. 

But on a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, Abbott said if that happens, the state can use billions of dollars in its rainy-day fund to pay for public schools.

Abbott said once the property tax issue is resolved, he will call lawmakers back for other special sessions. "We're going to have multiple special sessions until we get these issues addressed. There will be an appropriate time where we will bring up school choice. If it doesn't pass, we'll bring it up again."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.