With Texas’ soaring home values and astronomical property taxes, property tax relief is something homeowners desperately need. Luckily, that’s exactly what’s on our ballot this election. Keep reading for a breakdown of the two amendments (because ballot language can be impossible to decipher) and to see how passing them will benefit all Texans.
State of Texas Proposition 1: YES
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”
Texas homeowners with disabilities or who are over 65 have capped property tax reductions under the Texas Constitution. That means, unless they make home upgrades or move, their taxes can’t be raised past a certain threshold. Sure, that sounded great for a while, but when the Texas Legislature passed property tax reductions for Texas homeowners in 2019, the same relief wasn’t given to those with disabilities and elderly Texans.
This new amendment would extend the property tax cuts most homeowners saw in 2019 to the Texans who were left out. Their taxes would still be frozen, just at the new, reduced amount. Since many folks with disabilities and elderly homeowners have a fixed income, these tax cuts could provide much-needed relief.
State of Texas Proposition 2: YES
"The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000."
This amendment would allow property owners to shave $40,000 off the taxable value of their home, saving the average homeowner about $176 on their annual property tax bill. The measure would be an especially huge relief to low-income homeowners. According to state Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, raising homestead exemption is “the most progressive way” to provide “long-term tax relief” for property owners.
It’s understandable if you’re concerned about these property tax cuts decreasing funding to our already suffering schools. The state has made a promise, however, to “reimburse school districts for revenues lost” from the passage of the two propositions and we must hold lawmakers accountable to that promise. The money will come out of Texas’ $4.4 billion surplus in the first year, then legislators will have to rework how to support the gap in funding during the next legislative session
Side note: High property taxes aren’t just a homeowner problem. Renters can feel the downstream effects of these costs too. Since some landlords factor tax increases into rent, property tax cuts could help alleviate the increases in rent many of us have been seeing. Sure, the effects might not be enough for renters to notice but, coming from someone who lives in an Austin rental, anything is worth a try.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done to provide Texans the property tax relief they need, these amendments are a great start. Early voting runs until May 3 and Election Day is May 7.
See what else is on your ballot at Vote411.org then find your polling location at VoteTexas.gov. For information on Voter IDs, election deadlines, and more, check out GoVoteTexas.org. Happy voting, y’all!
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