AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott late Thursday released a statement on the Texas Legislature's passage of historic property tax cut legislation during Special Session #2:
“I made a promise to Texans during my campaign that the State of Texas would use at least $13.5 billion from our historic budget surplus to provide substantial relief to property taxpayers across Texas. Today, we will deliver even more with over $18 billion in property tax cuts. The Texas House and Senate fulfilled our promise with an agreement that delivers a comprehensive, long-lasting solution to increasingly burdensome property tax bills. I thank my partners in the Texas Legislature for coming together to honor the best interests of hardworking Texans who want to own their property—not rent it from the government. I look forward to signing this legislation into law to provide Texans with the largest property tax cut in Texas history.”
Once the bill is signed by the Governor, the measure will go before voters for approval on the ballot in November.
According to the Texas Tribune, the package’s marquee item is a $5.3 billion expansion of the state’s homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000. The new exemption combined with the school tax cuts would save homesteaders — Texans who live in a residence they own — an average of $1,300 a year in property taxes or just over $100 per month.
It also offers additional cuts for seniors and property owners with disabilities, averaging about $170 more per year, Bettencourt said.
The most novel part of the plan, an idea introduced publicly for the first time on Monday, is a first-ever temporary 20% cap on appraisal increases for properties valued at $5 million or lower that aren’t considered homesteads. Those would include second homes, vacation properties, rental houses, or commercial retail or business properties.
Texas Democrats were quick to condemn the historic relief for Texans. “The fact is that the property tax package presented by Republican House leadership was negotiated in dark back rooms instead of under the light of day. In a private negotiation behind closed doors, a publicly agreed-to provision to help our schools disappeared. Billions of dollars to keep teachers in the classroom—at a time of record shortages—was stripped away without any explanation. All while school districts in every corner of Texas are dipping into reserves or spending money they don’t have to keep teachers in the classroom. With billions of dollars to spend, it is inexplicable as it is cruel to remove compensation for teachers. House Democrats will continue to prioritize public education funding for the 5.9 million Texas students and Texas educators.”