November 17, 2021 255 PM
Property taxes in Texas are higher than all but a handful of other states. Far West Texans and people across the state have struggled to keep up with rising property tax rates, especially during and after the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. People should not have to choose between keeping their home, affording their medication or putting food on their table. We need relief.
In the last few years, Marfa has experienced an increase in the appraisal of adobe houses. These high appraisals have led to a massive rise in property taxes, forcing residents out of homes that have been in their families for generations. Additionally, property taxes in Texas have far outpaced inflation and eroded the average Texan’s purchasing power.
Given the economic impact of the pandemic and the subsequent rise in unemployment, relief is more important than ever. That is why I supported the bipartisan passage of several property tax relief bills to provide more purchasing power for Texans, reign in the sky-rocketing property tax rates, and help ensure Texans can continue to afford their homesteads.
I recently voted in favor of a constitutional amendment, SJR 2, and its enabling legislation, Senate Bill 1, to provide $2 billion of property tax relief to Texas homeowners. Homeowners can vote on this proposed constitutional amendment at the May 2022 ballot box. If the amendment passes, the homestead exemption for school district property taxes will increase from $25,000 to $40,000, and the average Texas homeowner will save roughly $176 on their property tax bill. That’s an extra $176 Texans can use to pay for other necessities, such as healthcare and transportation.
In addition to supporting the passage of SB 1 during the third special session, I co-authored Senate Bill 8 and Senate Bill 12 in the second special session to provide property tax relief to approximately 2.5 million Texans. SB 8 addresses a longstanding issue in Texas that prohibits homeowners from tax savings in their first year of home ownership. It is estimated that this bill will provide $600 million in relief per biennium to homeowners for first year homestead exemptions, allowing for more first-time buyers in Texas.
The proposed constitutional amendment in SJR 2 and its enabling legislation, SB 12, will provide tax rate reductions for over 65 or disabled homeowners. Homeowners can also vote on this amendment at the May 2022 ballot box. If the amendment passes, the average 65 over homeowner will save approximately $125 a year and see an increase in tax rate reduction every year after. SB8 helps to ensure disabled individuals and seniors continue to have a roof over their heads.
While the bills we passed were a good start, we have more work to do to reign in property taxes and fix the appraisal system in Texas. Homeowners across the state are concerned about being forced out of their homes due to the unaffordable property tax rates. This is not right. The state needs to invest more in public education and buy down school property taxes, and we need to continue increasing homestead exemptions. We need more bills like House Bill 3 from 2019 which provided property tax relief by buying down school property taxes.
We must continue our progress and push for solutions that will provide Texans with needed tax relief. As your state senator, I will keep fighting for lower property taxes for all Texans.