17 April 2023

Capitol Update: Daylight Savings Time, Property Taxes, and Community College Funding

With about six weeks left to go in the current legislative session, legislators are working frantically to have their bills heard and voted out of committees. With deadlines looming, the next couple of weeks will determine the fate of many bills.

With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…

Capitol Update

During my time in office, the practice of switching between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time has been a topic of much debate and discussion. While there are certainly supporters of changing the clocks back, many others don’t understand the necessity of falling back and losing sunlight in the evening. On that note, the Texas House recently approved House Bill 1422, which would no longer require Texans to change their clocks twice a year. HB 1422 would keep Texas on Daylight Saving Time permanently, although the bill only takes effect if the U.S. Congress enacts legislation authorizing the State of Texas to do so.

The Texas House also passed House Bill 2, known as the Property Tax Relief Act, aimed at reducing skyrocketing property taxes and providing much-needed improvements to the property appraisal system. This legislation would reduce the limit on annual appraisal increases to 5% for all types of property in the state, shielding homeowners, small business owners, landowners, and renters from sudden increases in property values. Combined with HB 1, this would result in the largest property tax cut in Texas history. The bill would also reduce the number of school districts subject to recapture payments and provide stability and predictability to homeowners and businesses, making it easier to plan for future investments and encourage economic growth. Texans need meaningful, lasting property tax relief.

Additionally, the House passed HB 8, which would create a new funding model for community colleges around the state. Under this new model, state funds will be distributed based on the number of graduates who earn certificates or degrees or transfer to four-year universities. The proposed funding model recognizes the critical role community colleges play in preparing students for the workforce, with associate degrees, job training programs, and other credentials needed for over 60% of jobs in the state. The model includes a scholarship program to help economically disadvantaged high school students access dual credit courses, as well as shared services to improve operational efficiency and offer more academic and workforce programs. Importantly, the bill would ensure community colleges have foundational levels of funding for instruction and operations.

The mobile office is on the road again and our District Director will look forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: April 19 at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9:00-11:00 am, or at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30 pm; May 3 at the San Augustine County Courthouse from 9:00-11:00am; May 10 at the Polk County Commissioner’s Court Room in Livingston from 9:00-11:00am, or at the Tyler County Courthouse in Woodville from 1:30-3:30 pm;

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762 and our Capitol office at (512) 463-0508. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

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