AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate has approved a plan designed to slow the increase of local property taxes as Republicans scramble to deliver on fiscally conservative promises despite a state budget crunch.

Tuesday's 18-12 vote sends to the state House a bill by Houston Republican Sen. Paul Bettencourt requiring local governments to seek voter approval via special elections when raising property taxes by at least 5 percent.

The current cap triggers elections on increases of 8 percent or more. Statewide, more than half of all property taxes collected go to funding public schools.

Local governments oppose the bill as legislative overreach, which may hurt it in the House.

Slumping oil prices have left Texas potentially $6 billion short of the funding needed to maintain current spending levels, making tax cuts especially contentious.


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