Texas: The Issue Is - Lt. Gov. Patrick on property tax relief, border security, Paxton impeachment

The lieutenant governor leads the state Senate, which for all practical purposes means no law, no initiative, no resolution, survives the legislative gantlet without his say so. That is an enormous amount of power leverage.

Three term Republican Dan Patrick exerted to push through his version of property tax relief and a continuation of state funded border security heading into the fall. The big issues beyond the Paxton impeachment will be school choice, a measure the lieutenant governor fully supports.

Lt. Gov. Patrick joined FOX 26 Houston's Greg Groogan to discuss.


GREG GROOGAN: Hey, look, governments are real good about taking money. Yes. But they have been very unsuccessful when it comes to giving it back. And I say that because you have been part of the largest property tax rebate in world history, I think. How did that come about, and why was it so important? 

DAN PATRICK: For me, it's been my number one issue, along with protecting life, protecting our border, protecting our liberty here in Texas. But in terms of a fiscal issue that impacts people in their everyday walk of life is reducing the property tax. And I've been on this, Greg, as you know, since 2003, which was four years before I ran for office. This is significant for people. If you have a mortgage for 25 or 30 years, you're talking about for the average person on an average $300,000 home, somewhere between $1,525 to $30,000 savings over a lifetime. And that's significant. And I just felt strongly that the homestead exemption was the big piece because it will be voted on in November by the people, then it will be guaranteed in the Constitution. It can never be taken away from them. 

GREG GROOGAN: Governor, six million uninvited immigrants since Biden took office, fentanyl coming across the border, human trafficking. You have been perhaps the biggest advocate for bolstering our border security, doing what the federal government has not.

DAN PATRICK: We've had to take taxpayer money from Texans that we shouldn't have to take, that we can spend on education, health care, roads, whatever, because Joe Biden is not doing his job. They've turned their back on protecting Texas. They've turned their back on children and women who are being sex trafficked. They've turned their back on drug dealers who are bringing fentanyl into our country.

GREG GROOGAN: Governor, there's been some pushback on, I guess it's the quarter mile river barrier, and the use of razor wire. What is your response to those who say that that's that's too harsh? 

DAN PATRICK: Since we put in the buoys several months ago, we have decreased drownings by over 70%. We're saving lives because they're not coming in the river and the wire the same way they know where we have the concertina wire and the bushes. We mean business, and I hope we are able to put those everywhere along the Rio Grande. 

GREG GROOGAN: And we have a big issue coming up potentially in the fall, which is a decision on whether to have school choice in Texas. Traditionally, it's been believed that the folks in rural Texas don't want school choice because they feel like it might weaken their public school districts. 

DAN PATRICK: The people want school choice. Republicans, over 80 percent want school choice. Democrats, 46 percent want school choice. Independents, almost 64 percent school choice. And when you talk about children with disabilities or children of failing schools, the numbers get even higher. The people who don't want school choice are the people in the business of education. It's the superintendents out there and the unions who don't want school choice. Maybe you just don't feel that school fits your child. Maybe your child's being bullied. Whatever reason, you have a right to send that child where you want, and it doesn't take any money away from education. 

GREG GROOGAN: And while the lieutenant governor was prohibited by his own rules from discussing the substantive issues involved with the impending impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton, he did offer Texans this fundamental guidance on the historic process to come. 

DAN PATRICK: I have 31 senators. They're the jury. That's it. And it makes for a very interesting process. It's not a criminal trial. It's not a civil trial. It's a political trial. And the members will decide whether or not the attorney general is removed from office or not.