Governor Abbott Vetoes HB 1544 (87R)
Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto House Bill No. 1544 as passed by the Eighty-Seventh Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:
House Bill 1544 would single out sand-mining operations, and only those within a specific geographic area, for preferential tax treatment. Currently, sand mining is not a qualifying use under open-space appraisal. House Bill 1544 would change that to allow property owners in two counties, if they meet certain conditions, to retain their open-space appraisal if their property is used for sand mining for one year. It would also make the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) create and enforce rules for reclamation of the sand mines.
Although the bill is meant to incentivize property owners to reclaim sand mines, it gives a property tax benefit to a very narrow set of property owners that will not be available to other similarly situated property owners around the state. It also allows property owners to retain an open-space appraisal after they chose to put their property to another use, despite existing law that allows this only if the property owner had to involuntarily cease agricultural operations—such as during a drought or to control pests or diseases. And the bill does not set clear standards for TCEQ to use in adopting reclamation rules. For these reasons, House Bill 1544 must be disapproved.
Since the Eighty-Seventh Texas Legislature, Regular Session, by its adjournment has prevented the return of this bill, I am filing these objections in the office of the Secretary of State and giving notice thereof by this public proclamation according to the aforementioned constitutional provision.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this 18th day of June, 2021.
Governor of Texas