SB 2 was referred to the Senate Committee on Property Taxes, and has been set for hearing on Wednesday, February 6th, at 8 a.m. The hearing will begin at 8 a.m., but most likely testimony will not begin until 12:30 p.m., after the state of the judiciary speech to a joint session of the House and Senate. Anyone who would like to testify needs to be signed up by 3:00 p.m. This hearing is expected to be long, similar to the hearing on the property tax bills in the 2017 Session. Testimony is limited to 3 minutes.
>>> The hearing room in the Capitol is: E1.012 (Hearing Room) in the Capitol Extension <<<
Here is the hearing notice from the Committee:
Witness registration for ORAL testimony will close at 3pm. However, you may register a position or provide written testimony only at any point during the hearing.
(will start no earlier than 12:30pm, or 30 minutes after the State of the Judiciary)
Oral testimony is limited to 3 minutes. If providing written testimony, bring 20 copies, with your name on each copy, to the Assistant Clerk during the hearing.
Oral testimony: register using the Senate kiosk located in the extension hallways or by going to http://swrs on public-capitol.
Oral and written testimony: register using the Senate kiosk located in the extension hallways or by going to http://swrs on public-capitol and hold on to your documents until your name is called.
Position only: register using the Senate kiosk located in the extension hallways or by going to http://swrs on public-capitol.
Written testimony only: register your position using the Senate kiosk and submit 20 copies, with your name on each copy, to the Assistant Clerk, during the hearing.
Here are some points that Chiefs who come to Austin on Wednesday might make in their testimony to the Senate Property Tax Committee.
- A 2.5 percent cap will make it difficult to pay for cites with fixed expenses like pensions, employee raises, cost of living wage adjustments, and public safety needs, which can be more than 60 percent of the budget. If the cap had been in place in last year, Our City would have needed to trim $_________ from this year’s budget.
- SB 2 will make the public health and safety infrastructure in our growing state more challenging. EMS and fire districts rely on property taxes to fund first response and emergency care services.
- SB 2 will weaken local decisions to buy new fire trucks, fully equip ambulances, improve first responder training and improve trauma care.
- SB 2 will make it difficult to hire more public safety personnel and fund merit raises.
- SB 2 needs a carve out provision for public safety and emergency services.
Chiefs might also say:
- How much smaller the City budget would have been in 2019 if the cap had been in place. Use that number to compare the budget for the fire stations, library system, the parks and playgrounds, etc.
- How much any raises for police and fire would increase the budget, or how many new hires are needed by the City and how much that would cost.
- How much a homeowner would have actually saved if the cap were at 2.5. Compare to amount the homeowner might be saving with a current homestead exemption already granted by City.