Three “plans” have been floated to deal with Texans’ horrible property tax problem. One by Gov. Greg Abbott, one by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and one by House Speaker Dade Phelan. The Patrick and Phelan plans are actually in motion.
Gov. Abbott said in 2022 he wanted to use “at least” half of the state’s surplus for new property tax relief and to put Texas on a path to eliminate the school “M&O” portion of the property tax bill – more than half of every property owner’s tax burden. He reiterated both points several times in recent weeks. Neither the governor nor the leadership of either chamber is pushing legislation to put this fully into action, though he has expressed support for both the Senate and House plans.
Lt. Gov. Patrick and the Senate have passed a plan that would increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000 and allow seniors or disabled adults to deduct an additional $30,000. A separate proposal, which the Senate also passed, reduces the “M&O” tax rate school districts can levy. This plan would immediately benefit senior citizens. Critics say this plan doesn’t offer enough relief to all Texans.
Speaker Phelan and the House passed a plan that reduces the maximum compressed rate for school “M&O” taxes as well as changes aspects of the appraisal cap by limiting how much the taxable value of a property can increase each year. The House “M&O” rate reduction is more than double that of the Senate. This plan would have a more limited benefit for everyone. Critics say it would not help senior citizens.
Yesterday, we asked which plan readers most prefer.
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Here is a sample of the responses we received from our readers after they voted in the survey.
“I’ve realized that buying a home and retiring in Texas is not attainable, so I’m moving out of Texas in June. Sadly!” – Kim Moore
“I would call the first choice the ‘Abbott’s finger-in-the-wind plan,’ since I seriously doubt his sincerity on the plan itself. But it is one of those rare occasions where his (consultants?) read on public opinion was pretty near perfect. It really amazes me the extent to which our legislators are completely deaf to their constituencies.” – Kevin Wade
“Something has to give! I am 73 years old. I do not have children in the system and never have. My appraisal went up $90,000 for 2023. The school tax is 50% of my tax bill. When will I have paid enough? Why is being taxed on unrealized gain considered fair? Why not tax at the purchase price each time a property is sold… THEN pay tax on real gain.” – Diana Firestone
“Of the three, I like Patrick’s plan the most, but it just doesn’t go far enough.” – Patrick Bell
“I don’t like ANY of these plans. They are all band-aids to the problem, not fixes! Don Huffines has a 10-year plan that would ELIMINATE property taxes. We need THAT!” – Dawn Martin
“It doesn’t seem like any of the choices have a real plan, they are mostly gimmicks. We citizens want the elimination of property taxes, period. Most of us realize until the taxes are gone we are just renting our paid-for property from the state. There is obviously plenty of revenue coming in to run the state operations.” – Eric Knutson
“Patrick’s plan is the best of a poor selection. The Legislature does not represent the people of Texas!” – H. J. Bronson
“None of the above. Like all things that come out of Austin, these are just more attempts to use a band-aid to fix a severed limb. We don’t need property tax ‘relief’ or ‘reform,’ we need to ‘eliminate’ the property tax. Period!” – Bill Parks
“Taxation is theft. Property tax is property theft.” – Thomas Williams
“We continue to play around the edges with property tax relief, and taxes just continue to escalate. They need to be eliminated (and there are plans out there that would do that if our legislators had the courage to adopt them). Right now, we are continually taxed on ‘unrealized capital gains’ on a property that is of no value to the property owner, only to local taxing entities. It is sad that we can never own our property unless and until property taxes are eliminated.” – Richard Heizer
“No plan is going to work if they don’t get the appraisals under control. A 300+% increase in three years is ridiculous.” – Michael Kinzie
“When ISDs stop blowing money on $100 million high school football stadiums and cut the administrative staff to less than the number of classroom teachers at each campus, and then if they still need more money, let them ask. Until then, our money is being wasted.” – Jim Pikl
“Same old BS…..big talk but little action, particularly in the House. As a senior, there is little benefit to any of the plans. They just want to grow the state government in spite of the Republican priorities!” – George McClure
“California Phelan is exactly that… As long as the GOP continues to allow Democrat jackasses to run as Republicans, this is what you get. If they were sincere about the chosen platform they supposedly support, California Phelan would not be running the Austin Circus.” – Jane Kappes
“The problem with Patrick’s plan is that it would essentially not lower your property taxes with the 10% cap in place. Consider a property valued at $300K for 2023; withthe current $40K homestead exemption, the taxable amount would be $260K. The following year (2024), if the homeowner commits the unpardonable sin of mowing the grass and raking leaves in the fall, the appraisal district will raise the value of the property by 10% to $330K for 2024; with the new $70K homestead exemption, the new taxable value will be….wait for it….$260K, same as the previous year. No tax savings at all. The current system of appraisal districts placing phony baloney values on properties and raising them 10% each year is corrupt to its core and needs to be eliminated.” – Gordon James
“I really prefer eliminating the property tax because it is evil. I think we saw from ballot propositions that Texans are serious about eliminating the property tax, but none of these politicians intend on listening.” – Cody Berry