Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s priorities for next Legislature include property taxes and electric grid
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday unveiled his priorities for the 2023 legislative session, which include reducing property taxes, tackling improvements for the state’s power grid and going after certain elected officials.
Patrick, a Republican from Houston who holds the most powerful position in the state Legislature, said he believes his priorities could be accomplished if the state is “smart” in how it uses its over $27 billion surplus.
“We have an extraordinary opportunity unlike we have never had before to chart the future of the state of Texas and create a vision,” Patrick said.
His number one priority is using some of the money to provide property tax relief. Patrick expressed uncertainty about the exact amount that would be used, but said he wanted it to be enough to increase the general residence homestead exemption for school property taxes to $60,000 or $65,000. The exemption is currently $40,000 and reduces the taxable value of a homeowner's primary residence.
Patrick unveiled his priorities Wednesday afternoon in front of reporters, but acknowledged many of them were conceptual and he didn’t have specifics yet.
He said his second priority is addressing the state’s electric grid, saying the state has already made some improvements, needs to do more.
“I don’t think we would be a responsible legislature if we leave next year, whenever we leave, without passing legislation that would guarantee that we are going to start building more natural gas plants,” Patrick said.
He signaled he’s willing to put his foot down on this issue.
In February 2021, a winter storm severely affected the state’s electric grid stability, causing widespread deadly blackouts.
“I personally cannot see myself leaving this building knowing that another Uri could happen,” Patrick said. “I just — I'm sorry if anyone gets mad about me saying that — I just think it's too important.”
Patrick said the state could incentivize or even build the natural gas plants.
He also wants the Legislature to pass a bill that would allow the state to recall district attorneys and judges who “refuse to follow Texas law,” as well as increase teacher pay, and “reform tenure in higher education.”
Earlier this year, Patrick said he’d direct the Legislature to amend tenure rules so that teaching so-called critical race theory would be “prima facia evidence of good cause for tenure revocation."