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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Inside Texas Politics: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls a property tax freeze a terrible idea

With the coronavirus pandemic burdening many Texans financially, some leaders are calling for keeping property taxes at 2019 levels. But Patrick disagrees.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick disagrees with leaders from across Texas who are calling for a freeze of property tax rates. 

Property tax appraisals have been sent out in recent weeks, and some areas are seeing huge increases in value. 

And higher appraisals often mean higher property taxes. 

Patrick says keeping property taxes at 2019 levels is a terrible idea.

He goes on to explain that the state doesn’t want to freeze taxes because then taxes can’t go down.

Patrick was first elected Lt. Gov. in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Patrick is a conservative talk radio host.

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Patrick’s website

Newsmaker #2

Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, talks about the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on small colleges and universities across the state. 

An example of how COVID-19 is adversely affecting a college is at St. Edward's University, also in Austin. Administrators have laid off 95 employees, closed the music and education departments, and is restructuring nine programs altogether. 

It is hardly alone.

Newsmaker #3

Republican Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner speaks about Amarillo. It's one of the Texas cities that will not reopen as the rest state does. 

El Paso and Amarillo have both seen surges in cases of COVID-19. The governor announced they must wait to enter the next phase of reopening until later this month.

While there are still a few segments of the Texas economy that are not yet allowed to reopen, these cities will stay on lockdown. 

Statewide Headlines

Ross Ramsey, with the Texas Tribune, joins Jason Whitely. 

1. Voting by mail is a big political issue in Texas. With the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people want to cast a ballot by mail to avoid going to a polling place. 

A state court approved it, then the state Supreme Court said no. A federal court says the people can vote by mail, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing that decision. 

Ross and Jason discuss the legal arguments surrounding the issue. Early voting begins in six weeks for the primary runoff election.

2. State leaders are asking state agencies to cut their budgets — but they're exempting expensive programs. Ross and Jason discuss some of the programs that won’t get cut.

Reporter Roundtable

Jason, Ross and Bud Kennedy of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, are joined by WFAA political producer Berna Dean Steptoe.

1. The race for U.S. Senate heats up. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn attacked Democrat Royce West, calling him “Restful Royce.” West shot back saying Cornyn is being a racist for using a “Dog Whistle.” 

West is in a Democratic runoff with MJ Hegar. Will Cornyn’s attack, viewed by some as playing racial politics, backfire? And, does Cornyn mean to hurt West -- or is Cornyn trying to choose which Democrat he wants to run against in the fall?

2. Memorial Day and Fourth of July are usually big holidays for campaigning.

What are candidates going to do if they can't emcee any memorials or lead any parades? Is this going to hurt challengers who need face time and name ID?

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