Rising property taxes are something we all feel on an annual basis. These taxes have continued a painful increase for too long and our families are burdened with paying a property tax bill that sometimes feels like a second mortgage. Texans need meaningful property tax reduction, and this May we will vote on two constitutional amendments that if approved will provide tax relief. I was proud to co-author both of these proposals passed during the 2021 special sessions and will continue to advocate for additional property tax relief in the future.
The first item on the ballot, Proposition 1, allows for school property taxes to decrease year after year for homeowners who are disabled or 65 or older. This fixes an oversight from 2019 legislation that reduced property taxes but excluded these homeowners from this reduction because their tax rates were frozen.
Current law puts a ceiling in place for these taxpayers, and their school property taxes cannot rise above that for as long as they are in their home. However, the ceiling for these homeowners cannot be adjusted downward either. Proposition 1 fixes this error by adjusting the ceiling downward to reflect the new ceiling at the lower amount anytime tax rates are lowered.
The second proposition on the ballot, Proposition 2, makes a serious down payment on decreasing property taxes for all homeowners by increasing the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000. This follows an increase in the homestead exemption, which I also co-authored and the voters approved in 2015, from $15,000 to $25,000. Just like in 2015, this increase in the homestead exemption will lower the amount of your home’s value subject to school taxes – the largest share of property tax bills.
If approved, Proposition 2 will save Texans over $350 million in 2023; a number which will only increase in subsequent years. These savings will be made up by the state and have zero effect on the funding for our schools.
Texas is blessed to have a strong robust economy to help cover these costs. However, we must also recognize that we were able to not only balance the budget but walk away with a surplus thanks to federal stimulus dollars provided in the American Rescue Plan.
I hope you will join me in supporting both of these overdue propositions and provide real property tax relief to Texans. You work hard to earn your money, let’s keep more of it in your pocket. You can vote early on these propositions from Monday, April 25th through Tuesday, May 3, and Election Day is Saturday, May 7th.
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Committee on Jurisprudence, and the Senate Committee on Redistricting, and serves on the Senate Committees on Border Security; Criminal Justice; Natural Resources & Economic Development; and Transportation.