State of Texas: Prediction time on property tax reform

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Senate passed a bill this week aimed at reining in property taxes. Senate Bill 2 would require local governments to get voter approval to increase tax revenue more than 3.5 percent.  For school districts, the limit is 2.5% Right now, the cap is 8-percent.

It’s a sign of progress on an issue that Texas lawmakers have been working on for a long time. Jeremy Wallace from the Houston Chronicle said Texans have heard this story for over 30 years. The story of property tax and lowering rates. 

“The complication of our tax system makes the promise of us getting to the finish line on this very difficult,” he said.

While the big three — Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen have all been on board for property tax relief. But Texans should not expect to see their tax bills drop.

“None of the bills will reduce your property tax bill,” Wallace said. “It’s all about reducing future growth of your tax bill.”

The big three proposed a ‘sales tax swap’, allowing the state’s sales tax rate to be raised by 1-percent in order to lower property taxes across Texas.

“Democrats have already said they oppose this, they call it a regressive tax,” explained Texas Tribune reporter Emma Platoff. “It basically shifts the taxation burden from homeowners who may have more money to just average Texans, low-income folks, who are paying sales tax,” she said. 

The big three state leaders all promised property tax reform this session. But delivering on that promise will be a tough task with just five weeks remaining in the session.

“There have been so many jokes that aren’t so funny about going into special session,” Wallace said. “I don’t see how we’re not going into another one.”

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