AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A bill designed to limit rapid growth of property taxes in Texas has won its first round of approval in the state Senate.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican legislative leaders have made property tax relief a top priority of the legislative session. The bill approved Monday wouldn't reduce property taxes, but would require voter approval if local governments raise rates 3.5% or more. School districts would get an even lower threshold of 2.5%.

Local governments can currently raise rates by as much as 8% without an election.

Leaders of Texas' big urban cities oppose the bill. They worry it restricts their ability to raise money for services in education and public safety.

The House is expected to vote on a property tax measure next week.

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