Senator Springer files property tax, law enforcement bills
Sen. Drew Springer (R-Olney) says he filed legislation ahead of last Friday’s deadline for filing general bills and has started hearings as a Senate education committee member on solutions to the opioid crisis and school safety. Sen. Springer filed a measure that would index unemployment benefits to existing economic conditions to shorten the time frame for receiving unemployment benefits when unemployment is low. “You have probably noticed more and more ‘Help Wanted’ signs across the state,” he said. “. It’s clear that employers are struggling to fill roles even though many Texans are collecting unemployment.” The bill “would result in a more robust unemployment trust fund, which lowers employers’ taxes and decreases the time to find a new job for the unemployed. Unemployed workers returned to work nearly twice as fast as workers in states with a fixed 26-week model.”
He also filed a bill aimed at lowering property taxes that would eliminate all maintenance and operations taxes, which generally fund public schools, and replace the revenue with an increase in the state sales tax. “The property tax rate in Texas is one of the highest in the USA, with the average homeowner paying around one-third more than the national average. It is unacceptable that Texas homeowners are paying these high taxes, and some are even being taxed out of their homes,” he said. Lastly, he filed a bill that establishes a grant program for counties of less than 300,000 to boost salaries for rural law enforcement personnel to help with retention. The grants range from $250,000 for counties with fewer than 10,000 people and as much as $500,000 for populations between 50,000 and 300,000, according to the bill. The bill calls for minimum salaries of $75,000 for sheriffs, $45,000 for deputies, and $40,000 for jailers, and sets minimum salaries for county and district attorneys’ offices as well. The grants may be used to hire additional personnel and purchase equipment so long as the salary minimums have been met. “Our small counties don’t have the tax base to fully fund law enforcement, which results in these counties struggling to recruit and retain qualified staff - but that no longer has to be the case,” he said. The program would take effect Sept. 1 if passed.