First elected to the Senate in 2014, Senator Paul Bettencourt represents Senate District 7, which encompasses West Harris County. He previously served 10 years as the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector, where he introduced “Smart Government” at the Harris County Tax Office and developed a customer service-driven organization. His team created the first major online property tax payment system and the first county tax office website with online vehicle registration in Texas. (His motto was “Get on-line, not in-line.”) He was well-known as the “Tax Man” for his outspoken efforts to cut property taxes.
In the most recent Legislative Session, Senator Bettencourt worked tirelessly to pass a conservative budget and several property tax reform bills. In addition, he also passed legislation to stamp out inappropriate student-educator relationships, reached across the aisle to establish ISD and Charter School Partnerships to give Texas students better access to educational opportunities, and he worked to pass HB 810, which gets government out of the way and allows adult stem cell treatments to be used for patients facing severe chronic illnesses. A champion for property tax relief in Texas Government, Senator Bettencourt authored the Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017 (SB 2), in the Special Session as well, after touring Texas and taking over almost 50 hours of public testimony to discuss property tax reform.
This success builds upon his previous accomplishments in the 84th Legislative Session where Senator Bettencourt served as the chief Senate sponsor or author on 25 bills that the Legislature approved, earning him notice from capitol insiders. This legislation included his amendment to SB 1760 that requires a 60% supermajority within a taxing jurisdiction to increase property taxes which has already been documented to prevent from imposing a $100 million tax increase in one taxing entity. Senator Bettencourt also led the passage of the Andrea Sloan “Right to Try” bill, which allows terminally ill Texas patients access to drugs still in the FDA approval pipeline, and SB 1004, which expanded student dual credit opportunities in Harris County.
Numerous organizations have acknowledged Senator Bettencourt for his conservative solutions to Texas’ challenges. His work earned him the distinction of “Most Valuable Freshman” by Capitol Inside, “Outstanding Texas Legislator” by Vision America, and he was called an “architect of tax relief” by Governor Greg Abbott for his leadership on property tax reform. He has also been named “Taxpayer Advocate of the Year” by the Americans for Prosperity, a “Hero of Faith” by the Houston Area Pastors’ Council, and earned the “Pioneer Award” from the Harris County Republican Party.
Senator Bettencourt is the Chair of the Senate Select Committee of Property Tax Reform, the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Government Reform, and serves on the Senate Finance, Education, and Higher Education committees. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and the elected Chair of the Texas Senate Republican Caucus. He also serves on the Joint Committee on Government Facilities and is an active member of the ongoing Texas Commission on Public School Finance.
A Bachelor of Science graduate of Texas A&M University in Industrial Distribution, Senator Bettencourt is the President and CEO of Bettencourt Tax Advisors, LLC, a tax consulting company in Houston that has grown forty employees. He is also a radio and television personality.
The Senator and his wife Susan are active members of Saint John Vianney Catholic Church, where Paul is a fourth degree Knight of Columbus.