Howdy Folks – Well it took a while but the Texas Lege finally gave us all some property tax relief in the 2nd Special Legislative Session!!!
Property tax legislation has been a contentious issue between the State Senate and House all year. A compromise was finally struck last month and has been officially signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. In my opinion, it took too long to reach this compromise.
The first point of compromise was increasing the homestead exemption to $100,000. The homestead exemption is for residents; who own homes in Texas as their primary residence. Its impact is primarily on the property taxes paid to our local school district. The tax paid to the school district accounts for the majority of our property tax bill. For a home nominally appraised at $500,000, the assessed (taxable) value would be $400,000. Homeowners will not need to reapply for the homestead exemption if they are already receiving it. Homeowners who are disabled or 65 and over will also benefit from this increased homestead exemption, even if they have already had their school property taxes frozen.
The second point of compromise was to “Compress” local school district property taxes by using $7 billion (in budget surplus funds) to buy down tax rates of the school districts. Each school district is allowed to set its tax rates for properties within their district. Once a homestead exemption has been deducted, each home’s value is then multiplied by the tax rates to get the amount owed to the school district. The compromise tax plan would mandate a reduction of each school district’s tax rate by approximately 10.7 cents per $100 of taxable value.
This reduction together with the homestead exemption increase would have saved about $1130 on a $500,000 appraised home in school-related property taxes last year.
Additionally, the compromise plan includes what the legislature calls a “20% circuit breaker” appraisal cap on non-homesteaded properties under $5 million in value for a three-year pilot program. This includes rental properties and vacation homes, along with commercial properties.
The total package provides about $18 billion in tax cuts. The package puts $12.6 billion of the state’s historic budget surplus toward making cuts to school taxes for all property owners, dropping property taxes an average of more than 40% for some 5.7 million Texas homeowners and offering brand-new tax savings for smaller businesses and other commercial and non-homesteaded properties.
Well, one might think with the compromise and the Governor’s signature the issue has been put to rest… Not so fast, since this is Texas and the issue is taxes, we the voters get a say! On Tuesday November 7th, 2023 there will be a Constitutional Amendment election where this Property Tax Relief will be on the ballot for approval and implementation this year… I personally believe this measure will pass with huge bi-partisan support!
In other legislative successes for Kendall County – 3 Cheers for County Judge Shane Stolarczyk & Texas State Representative Ellen Troxclair for House Bill 3474 which adds the 498th Judicial District for Kendall County. It becomes effective October 1, 2025. Their close working relationship gives Kendall County a second district court to assist Judge Kirstin Cohoon with the load currently carried due to our growing population. More importantly, it will shift funding of some resources from the county to the state saving future taxpayer dollars!
Your Kendall County Republican Party also had an impact on Senate Bill 990 which would have eliminated county wide voting. The bill was passed by the Senate, but with work by your KCRP Chair and many other Hill Country Republican Chairs the bill died in the House Elections Committee.
Finally, we all would have liked to see House Bill 3995 (Safe Guarding Military Readiness) get further in the process than simply referred to committee. It has to do with watershed use and land development that would adversely affect military readiness. As KCRP Chair, I contacted each member of the Land Resources Management Committee describing the importance of the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape Project and the mounting number of challenges affecting the long-term resilience of the region’s natural resources, especially relative to prospective commercial and residential development. We will re-engage on this with a better bill and more support in the future!
See y’all at the Kendall County Republican Dinner August 17 with Guest Speaker – Congressman Chip Roy. Then, the Republican Debate Watch Party, August 23. Visit our Website KCRPTX.com for details & sign up.