Yesterday, the House debated and ultimately passed Senate Bill (SB) 2, which deals with property taxes. I want to provide property tax relief — however, this bill does not do that.
WHAT THE BILL DOES
This measure limits the ability of cities and counties to fund vital services, including public safety – police, firefighters and EMTs. With already strained budgets, local governments will be forced to make harmful budget cuts.
WHAT THE BILL DOES NOT DO
Lower taxes. In fact, when explaining what the bill does, its sponsor repeated several times over that “this bill does not lower anyone’s property taxes.”
The main cause of property tax increases is not addressed in this bill.
As you may know, the majority of property tax revenue is dedicated to funding our schools. Each year, that reliance on local property tax revenue increases, while the state share decreases. In 2012, the state paid about 46% of the cost of public schools. In 2019, the state share is just 38%.
THE BEST SOLUTION
It’s not tying the hands of local governments through an arbitrary revenue cap or jeopardizing our communities’ safety because of new strains on city and county budgets. The best way to put money in the pockets of homeowners is pretty straightforward — double the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. By doing this, on average, Texas homeowners will save $325 annually.
This solution provides real relief to Texas homeowners struggling with the cost of property taxes, unlike SB 2 as proposed.
If the Legislature really intends to put money back in our pockets, the state should contribute more money for our schools, so property taxpayers don’t have to foot the majority of the bill.
It’s as simple as that.