After the first special session failed to produce results, Gov. Greg Abbott has called a second special session solely on property tax relief.
As the chambers gaveled in to start round two today, two state representatives have already taken initiative and filed legislation to eliminate school property taxes.
State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) has filed three new bills and one joint resolution to abolish property taxes in five years.
“Governor Abbott is right to demand elimination of property taxes,” Harrison said in a press release. “Getting the tax rates to zero must be the goal, and we should get there faster by giving at least half of the almost forty billion dollar surplus back to taxpayers. I am proud to re-file my bills to completely abolish property taxes within five years.”
House Joint Resolution 7 would amend the Texas Constitution to prohibit political subdivisions from imposing new property taxes after January 1, 2029.
House Bill 13 would create an interim study committee to help political subdivisions determine how to replace the local property tax revenue with sales tax. The committee would consider issues of whether political subdivisions would have the authority to impose sales and use taxes and would also determine the average sales and use tax rate for each type of subdivision.
House Bill 12 would require any property tax increase to receive a 60 percent vote in order to pass the proposed rate. The idea stems from a similar proposition recently passed in Arizona, which requires 60 percent of voters to approve property tax increases.
House Bill 14 is similar to HB 12 in making property tax increases go to the voters for approval, but HB 14 would provide more transparency to the property tax system and ensure taxpayers are given a voice when local elected officials attempt to collect more of their money.
State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) is also refiling two bills that he hopes will eliminate property taxes and put Texans on a path to owning their own home.
House Bill 16 would reduce school district maintenance and operation property taxes by utilizing surplus state revenue.
House Bill 17 would seek to establish a cap on the spending of municipalities and counties. The rate would be determined annually by the Legislative Budget Board and would be based on the state’s population growth rate and inflation rate.
“The collective enactment of House Bill 16 and House Bill 17 not only guarantees responsible financial management and effectiveness, but also steers Texas towards the goal of eradicating property taxes.” Cain stated. “By combining these bills, the protection of property rights for all Texans is ensured, preventing undue burdens on ownership due to excessive taxes or irresponsible local spending.”
While Abbott’s specific call for the second special session includes language on eliminating school property taxes, he has said he would consider any agreement the House and Senate can reach on relief.