If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Texas House Democrats unveiled a $20.9 billion plan for property tax relief that drops tax rates, increases the homestead exemption, gives annual rebates to renters, and includes pay raises for teachers, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The newest proposal comes as the Legislature continues wrangling over the issue in the second special session this year.
The bill, proposed by Rep. John Bryant, D-Dallas, is a combination of previous proposals with the added wrinkle of providing benefits for renters, who do not directly pay property taxes. The proposal also would raise the state’s per-student funding to public schools by $1,000 and give a permanent annual raise of $4,300 for teachers.
“Our effort is one that recognizes that you can’t talk about property taxes without talking about public education,” Bryant said of his proposal to raise the state’s basic allotment for school funding by $1,000.
The Senate has already passed a proposal to increase the homestead exemption to $100,000 and give a $2,000 pay hike for teachers in urban districts and a $6,000 increase to teachers in rural districts over the next two years.
TxDOT seeks input on $100 billion plan
The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking public input on a proposed 10-year, $100 billion transportation plan. The Unified Transportation Plan for 2024 is the agency’s road map to developing projects across the state.
“It’s important to work with our transportation partners and hear from the public to guide transportation improvements that address congestion and enhance safety,” Marc Williams, TxDOT executive director, said.
Projects included in the plan seek to ease congestion and improve connectivity. They address all types of transportation, including aviation, rail, freight, maritime and public transportation. The public comment period ends on Aug. 7. To weigh in, go to txdot.gov and click on the public input link.
State gets $60 million from feds for grid
The federal government is providing $60.6 million to the Texas Division of Emergency Management to help utilities strengthen the state’s power grid, the Texas Tribune reported. The grant program is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in late 2021.
“These grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters while enhancing power sector reliability,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
State emergency officials will decide how to use the money. Possibilities include improving how power-producing equipment performs in extreme heat or cold, or trimming trees near power lines.
Since Winter Storm Uri caused widespread outages in 2021, other storms have also caused power crises. An ice storm in late January and early February sent tree limbs crashing into power lines, particularly in Austin. In June, severe storms swept through East Texas, again knocking out power lines.
A total of $2.3 billion will be distributed by the Department of Energy across the nation to address power grid reliability issues.