Texas voters approve two property tax relief measures

U.S.

(NewsNation) — Texas voters approved two propositions that would change the Texas constitution when passed. Texas Proposition 1 and Texas Proposition 2 appeared above whatever local elections were relevant to the voter on the May 7 ballots.

The way propositions 1 and 2 were worded on the ballot can be confusing.

Proposition 1 is intended to cut taxes for disabled and senior individuals by having them pay less in property taxes to public schools.

“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,” says the proposition.

Dale Cramer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, says Texans should think of Prop. 1 as a way of extending additional tax relief to senior citizens and those with disabilities.

Property taxes for school purposes in Texas are frozen at their current rate once someone turns 65. However, last legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that forces school tax rates down.

“If your school taxes were capped say, 10 years ago, when your value was much less, you’re not getting any benefit from those rates declining because your values are far beyond where they were when the cap was set,” Craymer said according to KXAN. “What Proposition 1 does is…whatever your capped amount, no matter when that occurred, as school tax rates come down, it will bring down your cap amount as well.”

According to a fiscal note from the Legislative Budget Board, Proposition 1 would cost the state more than $744 million from 2024 to 2026.

Texas Proposition 2 is also related to taxes and public schools.

“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,” says the proposition.

If passed, it would boost the state’s homestead exemption — the portion of a home’s value that can’t be taxed — from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes. Calculations released by the state say this would save about 5.67 million homeowners around $175 a year.

Proposition 2 would cost the state almost $1.6 billion from 2023 to 2026, according to a fiscal note from the Legislative Budget Board. The state would also see less revenue from what is called “recapture” payments.

Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, authored both of the proposed constitutional amendments and said Proposition 2 will provide long-term relief to property owners in Texas.

“The homes that qualify get an extra $15,000 exemption, which translates to about $175 per year savings for the lifetime that they — that anybody has a home. And that’s thousands of dollars of savings over the life of a homeowner in Texas,” he said according to KXAN.

According to the Texas Tribune, school districts would be reimbursed for the lost property tax revenue and school districts with higher property wealth per student would also see lower payments into a state fund.

Both of the constitutional amendments garnered unanimous bipartisan support from Texas lawmakers, who say the propositions will help relieve the high property taxes Texans are experiencing as the housing market continues to boom.

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