BG Note | News - What We're Reading (August 16, 2017)

Texas Legislature ends special session without passing property tax measure (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The Texas Legislature closed out the special session Tuesday night amid a stalemate on property tax reform, leaving unfinished Gov. Greg Abbott's top priority.

Hours earlier, the House abruptly adjourned sine die – the formal designation meaning the end of a session – after advancing a school finance compromise to Abbott's desk but declining to further negotiate on a key property tax proposal. When the Senate returned later in the night, it rejected the only remaining option to get the bill across the finish line, which was to accept the House's version. 


A fiery Dan Patrick lashes out at Speaker Straus (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

In a fiery news conference minutes after the special legislative session ended Tuesday night, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lashed out at House Speaker Joe Straus, anticipated difficult primary elections for Republicans in Straus’ mold and predicted that bills to limit transgender bathroom use will be back.

House Republicans to caucus on speaker rules (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas House Republicans will meet early Wednesday to discuss procedures for electing a speaker, a move that opponents of current Speaker Joe Straus have heralded as a victory.

At issue: whether to require members of the GOP caucus to choose a candidate then stand behind their pick when the speaker vote goes to the full House in January 2019.


Regulation Vacation: City collects taxes from unlawful Airbnbs (KUT) LINK TO STORY

According to a KUT analysis of city data, the City of Austin has collected $576,860.14 in taxes since 2016 from 420 unlicensed short-term rental properties. This includes owners who continued to pay taxes after their licenses expired, owners who had no license, and owners who paid taxes between licenses (like Dobberfuhl, who is now relicensed). This accounts for nearly 14 percent of the city’s total short-term rental tax collection over the same time period.


Council takes long view on convention center, with eye toward spring (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

A decision on whether City Council will opt to expand the Austin Convention Center likely won’t come until spring 2018, based on discussions at Tuesday’s Council work session.

That time frame came from Mayor Steve Adler after more than two hours of presentation and discussion on the recommendations of the city’s Visitor Impact Task Force, which was formed last year to examine how the city can best use the growing pool of revenue generated from its share of the Hotel Occupancy Tax, roughly $100 million in the most recent annual accounting, generated entirely by visitors staying in Austin hotels, motels and short-term rental businesses.


Court settles May-November dilemma on bond election (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

After a short week of suspense, it turns out that Travis County voters will get to decide on a $185 million bond package sooner rather than later.

On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court voted 4-0, with Commissioner Gerald Daugherty absent, to send the referendum to the Nov. 7 ballot.

The court had approved the project list at its meeting last week but left open the possibility that the election could be delayed until May.


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