Legislature wraps up school finance work
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Legislators today wrapped up their special session work on school finance and adjourned a day early after passing the last two pieces of Gov. Rick Perry’s property tax cut trade-off.
The bills were sent to the governor who can sign, veto or let them become law without his signature. The 30-day session had a midnight Tuesday deadline for adopting a school funding bill that would pass constitutional muster.
The last two bills will raise the cigarette tax by $1 per pack as well as dedicate the revenue from the higher cigarette taxes and a new, expanded business tax toward cutting about one-third in school operating taxes by the fall of 2007.
The new business tax and the property tax reduction bill, which also includes a one-time, $2,000 teacher pay raise and other educational changes, already have been sent to the governor.