Governor Eddie Calvo called senators into special session Wednesday seeking immediate action on his bill to raise the Business Privilege Tax by 50% to replace an estimated $67 million in lost revenue as a result of the Trump tax reforms. But the administration's fiscal team projects that increasing the BPT from 4% to 6% will generate $120 million.
Calvo also plans to use some of the money for the hospital and education.
Senators met, but adjourned shortly after, with Speaker BJ Cruz setting a series of public hearings on the governor's bill next Wednesday, February 21. "I'm adjourning today's session with the understanding, I want it understood, and I want the governor and the people to understand that we are moving with this at a very special pace" he stated.
The speaker plans to hold session a week from Friday.
The Governor's office issued a statement reminding senators of an Attorney General's opinion that it's the Legislature's duty to establish taxes, and they don't have the authority to delegate.
So, this Valentine's Day gathering is not likely to spark much love from Senators who now face the prospect of raising taxes, and gutting government services during a gubernatorial election year.