No turning back now, as Governor Perry has made the call for a special session to start on Tuesday, April 20. (See, I was right that it wouldn't be for the 19th.) What happens from here is anyone's guess, but do keep these things in mind:
The governor has proposed cuts in local school property taxes to be replaced by new state revenue sources, including a higher cigarette tax, video lottery terminals at racetracks and on Indian reservations, a new $5 state tax on admissions to adult entertainment clubs and closing a loophole in the state franchise tax.
He also has proposed a new statewide tax on business property that has drawn widespread opposition from the business community, which fears being taxed at a higher rate than residential property. The statewide business tax and the expanded gambling would have tough hills to climb in the Legislature because each would require constitutional amendments approved by two-thirds of the House and the Senate. They also would have to be approved by Texas voters.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and much of the Senate, meanwhile, are working on a competing plan, which would trade lower school property taxes for a broad-based business activity tax.
"I don't think there is any consensus at this time," said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, which generally supports the governor on major issues but opposes the statewide business property tax.