In yesterday’s Texas Minute, we asked readers about the two competing legislative proposals for distributing $12.3 billion in property tax relief.

The Abbott/Phelan proposal puts approximately $12 billion directly into “rate compression” –resulting in the school property tax rate dropping 16.2 cents off the current rate. This plan applies “relief” evenly to all types of property – homesteads, rentals, commercial, agricultural, and industrial.

The Patrick/Senate proposal puts the same $12 billion into a mix of “rate compression” and increasing the homestead exemption – resulting in the school tax rate dropping 10 cents and the homestead exemption increasing from $40,000 to $100,000. This plan provides more relief to homeowners, though property appraisals diminish exemption value over time.

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Here is a sample of the responses we received from our readers after they voted in the survey.

“Both plans ignore the source of the problem… Unbridled spending! Short-term, even with the prospect of ever-increasing appraisals, the Senate plan better serves property owners.” – Jack Boteler
“My answer for property taxes is to ELIMINATE PROPERTY TAXES, cut out corporate welfare, and vastly REDUCE government. Public schools need to get out from under the shackles of government-funded everything. Cut the shackles of government.” – Nancy Wood
“I chose the Patrick/Senate proposal because I firmly believe that homestead tax relief is our first priority, at least until our state eliminates property tax altogether.” – Phil Papick
“I chose the Abbott-Phelan plan because the Senate plan would not apply to my non-homestead property, and I’m tired of the school districts raking us over the coals. However, neither plan offers nearly enough to the property owner in light of the size of the state treasury surplus. The relief should be in the $20 million range.” – Charlie Crowell
“Rate compression is the best long-term solution. But the focus should not be which plan. The focus should be, ‘Why is the number 12 billion and not 32 billion?’” – Fran Rhodes
“Actually, I’m not a fan of either plan. Relief should start with the $32 billion surplus. I like Huffines’ plan to buy out school property taxes.” – Scott Jones
“This whole thing is like arguing whether to serve peas or carrots with a meal. I DON’T CARE! Just do SOMETHING!” – Priscilla Love
“I need another choice! Looks like I still have to pay rent for the property I paid for.” – Gene Klutts
“You didn’t have a ‘None of the Above’ option. We want the whole [surplus] put towards the compression so there are no more property taxes for everyone!” – Jim & Melissa Hughes
“The Abbott plan will provide tax relief for all classes of property taxpayers, including the farms and businesses that provide the private sector employment that we conservatives believe in! This will make Texas even more competitive in attracting businesses here, driving better jobs, better pay, and more opportunity.” – Bill Jerke
“I opted for the Patrick/Senate plan, but my first choice is to eliminate property tax altogether. Once you work all your life to buy your home, no one should be allowed to take it from you. It is not the fault of the homeowner that blue states are compelling their people to move here and inflating the appraisal of homes.” – Wendy Nylaan
“Businesses can usually pass along their property tax costs to their customers. Homeowners foot their entire property tax bill. The Senate plan helps the most people in the greatest way. Why is there any doubt about which plan is better?” – David Holden
“The House leadership under Phelan is so not trustworthy. I don’t trust Phelan on this either.” – Glenda Piacenti
“Usually, I’m more on Dan Patrick’s side, but we need a long-term solution here, not a short-term ‘fix’ which dies over the next ten years with hardly a whimper.” – Alton Moore
“Any plan Dale Phelan is behind will not get the job done. Don’t really like either plan, as property taxes need to go away for all ages, but especially those 65 and over. You should not lose your home or land over unpaid property taxes.” – Debra Davis
“While I don’t completely agree with either plan, I do completely agree with the plan Don Huffines proposed; that being, eliminate property tax.” – JD Ross
“I am fond of tax reduction in any form. However, I am not fond of politicians deciding who wins and who loses, who gets a reduction, and who does not. I am a proponent of compressing the tax rate on all properties.” – Gyle Dale
“I still favor Patrick’s plan. The ‘compression’ plan spreads the benefits to more taxpayers, but the lowest taxpayer on the totem pole is the individual homeowner. They have no way to pass those taxes along and spread their tax pain to others.” – Patrick Bell
“The Abbott/Phelan proposal sounds good, but who trusts Phelan? So I choose the Patrick/Senate plan.” – Virginia Choate
“I voted for the Senate plan as I see it as better for homeowners. It certainly works better for me.” – Mike Masterson
“SIMPLE: Quit financing public centers for indoctrination rather than education!  Remove the federal government’s ability to DICTATE how/what our Texas children are ‘taught’ at school.” – Donna Lassitter
“Neither plan does enough to make a substantial impact for homeowners. Gee, we also thought the original idea/goal was to do away with property taxes altogether. What happened?!” – Kelly Palmer
“The elimination of property taxes is the only way to be truly free from the serfdom of the state.” – Peter Micus
“Personally, I think they should give us both.” – Linda Holt
“Our state has collected over $30 billion over the submitted budget, and the politicians only want to discuss this disgraceful amount! Return all of the excess to the taxpayers.” – Thomas Domingos
“Although I selected the Senate plan, I have an issue with both plans. I think the Senate plan falls short because it doesn’t include an appraisal cap. I think the House plan falls short because the compression amount is too low. My first choice is the one that the House passed in the regular session: SB103 88(r)…it had a 100k homestead exemption, $16B in compression, and a 5% appraisal cap for all property owners. We are newly retired and have a modest pension.  We had planned to purchase a rental home to help supplement our income in retirement, but it seems impossible with the unpredictable nature of property taxes in Texas. Not all landlords are millionaires — certainly we aren’t!” – David Kirk Sr.
“Regarding property tax relief, Texas should institute a plan like CA did back in the ’70s. Proposition 13 put a 1.5 % increase limit on taxes. Nobody’s taxes can be increased more than that each year. Why can’t we do something like that?” – Debbi Martinez
“I want property taxes gone. We pay sales tax when we buy it, that SHOULD be it. We shouldn’t have to pay rent, to the state, forever!” – Bob Davis
“I trust Dan Patrick way more than Abbott/Phelan in this matter. Lt. Dan is all over Texas radio today explaining how the Senate version is worth significantly more to homeowners than the House version. Phelan has disappeared.” – Tim Rhodes
“I am not a fan of either Abbott or Phelan, but we should include their plan in $24 billion in relief.” – Mike Tayloe
“I do not care for either plan. We had a surplus of $32.7 billion and they are only giving the people $12 billion back. $32.7 billion divided by 29 million in population equals = $1,127 per person. Give it all back to the people.” – Gary Alford
“I wish there was another choice, like what is good for Texas taxpayers!” – John R. Makow
“Instead of $12.3 billion, how about $16.7 billion? It’s our money, after all.” – Dave Anthony

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