Incoming Lt. Gov. Patrick vows tax relief despite oil prices

By PAUL J. WEBER
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Incoming Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is continuing to vow tax relief despite plummeting oil prices that have complicated the Texas budget outlook.

Patrick acknowledged Monday that the slowdown of the oil and gas industry is impacting sales tax collections that give lawmakers spending power. That has raised doubts about whether Republicans who ran on promises of tax cuts can deliver when the Legislature reconvenes next week.

But Patrick said he remains undeterred. The tea party leader said "let there be no doubt" that a budget won't pass the Senate this year without serious tax relief, though he gave no details.

The price of oil plunged briefly below $50 a barrel on Monday for the first time since 2009.

The 140-days legislative session begins Jan. 13.

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