The Texas House is set to debate a revised version of its property tax relief proposal that advocates say is a move in the right direction but falls short of expectations.
Delivering “the biggest property tax cut” in Texas history is one of the legislative priorities of Gov. Greg Abbott in light of the state’s $33 billion surplus.
Since the beginning of the session, however, the House and Senate have been at odds on how to deliver property tax relief.
The proposal passed by the Senate would increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000 and allow seniors or disabled adults to get an additional $30,000. The House’s original version, meanwhile, would limit how much the taxable value of a property can increase each year by lowering the appraisal cap from 10 percent to 5 percent.
Both versions also included money allocated to compress school taxes, and both offered around $12 billion in new property tax relief.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Senate, has repeatedly criticized House Speaker Dade Phelan’s proposal as being similar to appraisal caps implemented in California, which he blames for destroying their housing market, giving Phelan the nickname “California Dade” in the process.
Now the House appears to be moving in the Senate’s direction.
A new proposal, a revised version of Senate Bill 3, is set to be debated on Thursday in the Texas House. The legislation would increase the homestead exemption to $100,000 while also lowering the appraisal cap to 5 percent.
“It’s a great victory for taxpayers everywhere that the House has increased the Senate’s property tax relief package to $16 billion in new relief. They are now about $4 billion away from giving Texas the largest property tax cut in history,” said Tim Hardin, the president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
While Phelan has touted the plan as providing $21 billion in property tax relief, Hardin pointed out that this “fuzzy math” was created by counting previously existing property tax relief passed in 2019.
“We encourage conservative lawmakers to bring an amendment to make that happen; taxpayer money is just sitting there waiting for them to refund it to us in the form of property tax relief.
Any compromise between the House and Senate must move quickly. The legislative session ends on May 29.