Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas Welcome to the Official Website for the Texas Senate
Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
January 17, 2023
(512) 463-0300


(AUSTIN) — Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick both vowed to pass substantial property tax cuts and implement school choice in Texas as each man was sworn into a third term in office Tuesday. Touting the state's economic strength and overflowing treasury, both Abbott and Patrick told attendees that this session will focus on the conservative issues they credit for the state's enviable fiscal position. "The world is in chaos and they need a strong America," said Patrick. "America is not strong without a strong Texas and I believe that Texas is not strong without strong conservative policies that say 'the government will give you what we need but stay out of the way'…That's why people are coming here from the other 49 states."

Last Monday, the state comptroller told lawmakers the state was projected to have a larger budget surplus and take in more revenue than ever before. Both Patrick and Abbott were eager to put that money towards a substantial property tax cut. Abbott even put down a marker for the scope of tax relief this session. "We will use that budget surplus to provide the biggest property tax cut in the history of the State of Texas," the governor said. Patrick said that the base budget soon to be unveiled in the Senate proposes to nearly double the current homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000. Patrick added that there is more relief to come for Texas taxpayers. "The Governor and the Speaker and the Members, we're going to find a way for long term property tax relief with the billions of dollars from this surplus, because you come first - it's your money."

TSN photo

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick takes the Oath of Office for his third term.

Education will also be a major issue this session, as both Patrick and Abbott vowed to pass a school choice plan this session. "The Governor and I are all in on school choice," said Patrick. Diversion of public education dollars has long been a contentious topic in education policy, with rural voices often raising the loudest objections, as their small populations mean losing even a single student could hurt district funding. In order to salve those concerns, Patrick said the Senate's plan will be aimed at the relative handful of districts that Patrick says hold half of all Texas students, and not the thousands of small districts with less than 3,000 students. "The Governor and I will have a plan to protect those schools financially and to make sure those parents have choice also," said Patrick. "We are going to pass school choice."

The security of the electric grid will also be a major issue this session. The 2021 winter storm that left millions of Texans shivering in the dark for days is still fresh in the minds of legislators. Abbott touted the success of the bipartisan reforms passed by the Legislature last session. "Last summer we set eleven all-time power generation records and last month, we weathered brutally freezing temperatures across the state all without any disruptions," he said, "This session we will build a grid that will power this state, not for the next four years, but for the next forty years." For Patrick, this means building more reliable power stations such as natural gas generators. "We need dispatchable energy we can count on. We will add more megawatts of thermal generation and strengthen the grid," he said.

With those priorities and more on the table for the session, the Legislature will have until the session ends on Memorial Day to put those bills on the governor's desk for his signature. If they don't, Abbott is empowered to call additional 30-day sessions on any topic of his choosing.

The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, January 18 at 10 a.m.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.