This week the Texas Senate approved a package of three property tax relief bills (plus a constitutional amendment that will go to the voters next November) that will cost the state more than $16 billion. The package includes measures to increase the homestead exemption from the current $40,000 to $70,000. Disabled homeowners and those 65 and over currently have an additional $10,000 exemption; that would increase to $30,000 for a total exemption of $100,000 for those homeowners. According to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the average property owner could see savings of around $750 in their annual property tax bill in the first year, and another $250+ for older or disabled homeowners.
The structure and cost of the tax relief package has raised concerns by some that public schools could be shortchanged in the future. Under the proposals, school property taxes would be lowered by around seven cents per $100 property valuation, but the state would make up the difference – which is affordable this session but could be more problematic in leaner years.
The House is also considering property tax relief measures including a different approach that focuses on lowering home appraisal caps from 10% to 5%.