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All bills passed out of Senate

In case you missed my late update yesterday, the Senate finally passed HBs 1 and 5. At this point, final passage by the House is expected shortly.

House Speaker Tom Craddick said late Wednesday he would urge House members to accept the Senate version of House Bill 1, which would send it on to the governor.

“This has not been the easiest task we ever accomplished but we accomplished it,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Florence Shapiro.

The bill spends nearly half of the state’s $8.2 billion surplus. It uses $2.4 billion for initial property tax cuts and $1.4 billion for new education spending.

The Senate on Wednesday also voted to raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack. The tax would be phased in, with 75 cents added onto the price of a pack in January and 25 cents in September 2007.

The Senate also decided to use 5 cents of the new tax for anti-smoking efforts, with the rest going to help pay for property tax cuts. HB 5 passed on a vote of 21-9.

I’m still wrapping my mind around all of this, so I’ll save the analysis for later. Phillip, Matt, Nate, and Vince have already started, and they’re all pretty damned pessimistic about the effects of this legislation. If you need a little cheering up after that, there’s always In the Pink and PinkDome.

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One Comment

  1. el_longhorn says:

    What’s up with the extreme pessimism? What was everybody expecting from Perry and Company? All in all, the state has an important new source of tax revenue, we got a small property tax cut, and the schools came out of all this relatively unscathed. True the business tax is dedicated to only reducing property taxes, but that can change whenever the Leg wants it to. Point being, the state is in much better financial shape than before and is beginning to cobble together a workable tax structure. Even more, the surplus is still mostly sitting there (I think) and available for necessary spending.