How was the 86th Texas legislative session for taxpayers?

Pratt on TexasThe 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature is in the books having ended its mandatory biennial 140-day run on Monday and I’m a bit at sea about what to write about as there are so many angles from which I could report and comment.

Let’s start by saying that the new Speaker of the House, Dennis Bonnen, delivered on his promise of a big school finance bill. It’s big spending, big in changing formulas for funding, and as I promised, not big on simplification or transparency but it got done.

…it was a session in which taxpayers made real gains but so did the spenders.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made good on his promise to get the state’s first major property tax reform done since the 1970’s. Though not perfect, the bill from Houston’s Bettencourt in the Senate and Lubbock’s Burrows in the House got through with the active help of Governor Abbott and Speaker Bonnen.

The budget passed by both bodies was too bloated and did not show the conservative fiscal constraint promised Republican primary voters by most members but, and we must be honest in our disappointment, also was nowhere near the bloated spending Democrats wanted or would enact if their Leftist party was in control.

the failure to pass the limited ban on taxpayer funded lobbying… should be seen as a kick in the teeth to us citizens.

There is much that should have been accomplished better and there are some bad bills for which legislators voted and deserve serious criticism. I’ll tackle those in future days on Pratt on Texas but I will now mention that the failure to pass the limited ban on taxpayer funded lobbying, opposed by Abilene’s Stan “for the lobby” Lambert and other shills of local government politicians, should be seen as a kick in the teeth to us citizens.

Overall, based on historic standards of actual practice, it was a session in which taxpayers made real gains but so did the spenders.

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