After the city council voiced their disapproval of property tax relief efforts in the Texas legislature this year, Waco city officials have moved to propose a property tax increase for the upcoming year.

With a proposed rate of $0.776232 per $100 (up from an effective rate of $0.741636 per $100), Waco joins a growing list of Texas cities rushing to raise property tax bills before SB 2—which would give taxpayers a greater say on tax hikes—goes into effect in 2020. The legislation will require most cities and counties to hold elections to get approval for proposed tax increases of over 3.5 percent, on properties taxes in both the current and previous year. Tax revenue from new properties added from growth and new economic development are excluded from the 3.5 percent limit.

With their opposition to SB 2 being clear before its passage, the move from local officials in Waco is unsurprising. In a stinging rebuke of the proposal penned by Texas GOP leaders this past session, Councilman John Kinnaird told the Waco Tribune-Herald, “This will be absolutely injurious to our ability to provide the vital and essential services: public safety, infrastructure, code enforcement, and the other parks and libraries and the other amenities that benefit our citizens and improve the quality of life in our community.”

As property tax bills skyrocket across the Lone Star State, taxpayers are in dire need of significant relief to offset the disproportionate burden that rising property taxes have thrust onto their pocketbooks. Unfortunately, most will likely see even higher tax bills in 2019 and beyond.

The school tax relief in HB 3 and the voter-approval reforms of SB 2 may be leveled off at best, as cities ramp up their campaigns in 2019 to squeeze as much new revenue as they can from property owners before having to get their permission next year.

Grant Hillman

Grant Hillman is a Senior at Baylor University, majoring in History and minoring in Political Science. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of Baylor's Young Conservatives of Texas chapter.