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Short on Votes to Tighten Spending Cap, Senate Built a New One

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick touted legislation to exempt tax cuts from counting toward the state spending limit at a Capitol press conference on March 10, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick touted legislation to exempt tax cuts from counting toward the state spending limit at a Capitol press conference on March 10, 2015.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Republicans had hoped to amend the Texas Constitution to tighten the state's spending cap. Short of the needed votes, they passed a measure creating a new cap in state law instead.

Bettencourt Softens Bill to Limit Property Tax Growth

Texas State Sen.-elect Paul Bettencourt during the What the Tea Party Wants panel at The Texas Tribune's On the Road: A Symposium Previewing the 84th Legislature on Dec. 5, 2014.
Texas State Sen.-elect Paul Bettencourt during the What the Tea Party Wants panel at The Texas Tribune's On the Road: A Symposium Previewing the 84th Legislature on Dec. 5, 2014.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, wants to make cities and counties ask voters for permission to enact tax rates that allow overall property tax revenue from existing homes and businesses to rise more than 6 percent.

Senate Bill Targeting Bullet Train Project Advances

The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed trail used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.

On a 5-4 vote, the Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would hobble a private company’s plan to build a $12 billion high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston.

Bonnen's $4.9 Billion Tax Cut Plan Targets Sales Taxes

Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.
Ways and Means chair State Rep.Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, while debating State Rep. Sylvester Turner on HB11 border security bill March 18, 2015.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, laid out a $4.9 billion tax cut plan Wednesday featuring cuts in sales taxes and business taxes. The Senate's plan cuts business taxes and property taxes.