Top GOP Lawmakers Want Sales Tax Increase, and Trump Says ‘good People Are Dying' in Texas

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, the campaign trail and Dallas.Points from Austin1. The three most powerful elected officeholders in Texas have thrown their collective support behind a plan to reduce property taxes by increasing the state's sales tax by a penny. "If the one-cent increase in the sales tax passes, it will result in billions of dollars in revenue to help drive down property taxes in the short and long term," Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said in a joint statement Wednesday.Read here why the House Democratic Caucus and others oppose the plan.2. The House is expected to vote today on another bill to address property taxes. If it passes, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the city won't be able to hire the 100 new police officers it's been trying to recruit. "It could be catastrophically harmful for cities in Texas if some commonsense math is not used in this process," Rawlings said.Here are the other Dallas services the mayor said could be at risk if the bill passes.3. Speaking of recruiting cops, Texas lawmakers have proposed a program to help officers pay off some of their student loan debt. The Senate and House are both considering versions of the bill, which is aimed at shoring up the Dallas Police Department and other that have struggled to recruit and retain officers.4. Several hundred state workers marched Wednesday in downtown Austin, demanding a $6,000-a-year across-the-board raise. The last "real" pay raise that all state employees received was in 2014, several speakers said at a rally at the Capitol, driving turnover to a 30-year high.But what are some potential solutions in a year when lawmakers appear focused more on teacher pay and property taxes?5. Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchia is seeking greater oversight of potentially dangerous gas meters placed in striking distance of drivers.Throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, natural gas meters still stand near streets and alleys with no barriers to protect them, posing risks. A Dallas Morning News and NBC 5 Investigates analysis reveals how many meters motorists have hit in recent years.6. The Texas House on Wednesday approved a bill from Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, to require school districts to report the race, sex and date of birth of suspended students, as well as information on why the students were suspended and the length of the suspensions. The information could help researchers identify and address the underlying reasons for school suspensions, which research has shown are disproportionately given to African-American boys and children with disabilities.Johnson, who is running for Dallas mayor, said he has worked for years to "dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and to build a school-to-workforce pipeline."7. The Texas Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a two-year state budget that would boost spending on public schools and slightly reduce school property taxes. The measure now goes to the House, which is expected to reject Senate changes. That would set up a session-ending negotiation among five lawmakers from each of the two chambers.Here are five things you need to know about how the Senate wants to spend your money.8. A popular bill to get rid of red light cameras in Dallas and dozens of other cities has hit the skids. "Passing the bill out without further tailoring would be tantamount to me voting something out and later having blood on my own hands," said Rep. Terry Canales, the Edinburg Democrat who chairs the Texas House Committee on Transportation.Find out more about Canales' reasoning here.9. At our state politics coverage site, the Texas Tracker: Your Guide to the State Legislature, you'll find stories, analysis and more from the Capitol. If you're a Dallas Morning News subscriber, you can customize your feed. Sign in, click the issues you want to follow, and you'll see only posts matching those topics.Points from the trail  Continue reading...

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