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While some taxing entities are devising ways to raise tax burdens on citizens who are already struggling under the economic fallout from the Chinese coronavirus, Montgomery County is doing the opposite.

Local taxing entities will often erroneously claim they are offering tax relief if they lower tax rates, even as rising appraisals cause the average homeowner’s tax burden to increase.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County commissioners voted to approve a tax rate of $0.4312 per $100 valuation, a rate that is actually lower than the “no-new-revenue” rate—which collects the same total amount of property tax revenue from the same properties taxed last year, both residential and commercial.

The motion passed unanimously.

The victory came as taxpayers in the county placed increased pressure on commissioners not to raise taxes, especially under the current circumstances.

Under property tax reform legislation passed by the state legislature in 2019, taxing entities, including cities and counties, are allowed to raise property tax collections above the no-new-revenue rate by up to 3.5 percent each year without seeking voter approval. School districts are subject to a 2.5 percent cap.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, who presides over the commissioners court, celebrated the victory, stating that this is the second year in a row the court has approved a rate at or below the no-new-revenue rate.

Keough’s full statement can be found below:

“Today, Commissioners Court voted to adopt a tax rate that is below the no new revenue rate. This adopted rate will equate to a tax cut this year for the Montgomery County portion of your property tax bills.

 

“When I ran for County Judge one of the pillars of my campaign was ensuring we were lowering the tax rate to account for higher appraisals. This is called the no new revenue rate. Any rate above this is a tax increase. Any rate below will be a tax cut.

 

“Today’s action is a tax cut and the adopted tax rate for fiscal 2021 $0.4312 per $100 evaluation. Is a reduction of our tax rate from $0.4475 cents per $100 valuation.

 

“This is the second year in a row the court has approved a tax rate at or below the no new revenue rate.”

Rather than reduce spending, however, the new budget calls for approximately $5.5 million to be drawn from the county’s fund balance to cover the decreased revenue.