Post Date: October 2021
Second Reading Podcast: A look at the output and implications of the 87th Texas Legislature
Feeding the property tax beast
One of the final acts of the third special session of the 87th Texas Legislature was the negotiation of SJR 2, a measure that, if approved by voters in May, would increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 beginning with the 2022 tax year. Property taxes have been a perennial source of griping, especially in areas of Texas experiencing rapid population growth, rapidly rising home values, and the corresponding increase in property tax bills. Of course, as policy makers have been frequently reminded during the long real estate boom in Texas, in Texas’ growth obsessed but revenue-constricted political economy, efforts to reduce property taxes enough for voters’ to actually feel the effects of legislative action are severely constrained.
While the primary driver of that constraint is fiscal, another major constraint is public opinion. A decade of polling on property taxes illustrate that many voters notice those rising property tax bills, but are likely to be unimpressed with what ultimately amounts to legislative tinkering in efforts to validate some sort of claim that the incumbent government is addressing voters’ concerns.
Does conservative support immunize Abbott from business resistance after latest vaccination order?
Abbott’s ratcheting-up of COVID-19 policies that are demonstratively more attentive to limiting the autonomy of organizations (particularly businesses) to set health policies in the context of COVID than they are to public health writ large seems to be rankling some of the business-friendly groups allied with Texas Republican governance. But public opinion polling throughout the pandemic suggests that there remains a strong audience for Abbott’s approach among the Republican rank and file, even as independents can be expected to have mixed responses, and Democrats are widely and deeply opposed.
Second Reading Podcast: The politics of the Governor's executive order banning business vaccine requirments
In this week's Second Reading podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank talk about the politics of Gov. Abbott's latest executive order prohibiting businesses from implement vaccine requirements on employees or customers.