As the state’s housing market rages, Texas homeowners will get a slight break on their property tax bills after Texas voters overwhelmingly passed a pair of statewide ballot measures Saturday.
Voters approved two propositions intended to lower property taxes for homeowners by decisive margins — one aimed at older and disabled Texans and another that would provide modest relief for homeowners across the board.
“Victory for ALL property owners in Texas!” Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Saturday evening.
Texas’ high property taxes have once again taken center stage amid the state’s real estate market explosion. Home values in the state’s major metropolitan areas have surged by double digits, prompting homeowners to fret that they will see a similar rise in their property tax bills — though those don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
Proposition 1, a measure to essentially cut school district property taxes for homeowners who are 65 and older or disabled, passed by a wide margin, according to Decision Desk.
Voters also approved Proposition 2, to raise the state’s homestead exemption — the dollar amount of a home’s value that’s exempt from taxation by school districts — from $25,000 to $40,000. The owner of an average Texas home, worth about $300,000, will save around $175 in savings on their annual property tax bill.
“It's great to see the voters of Texas vote overwhelmingly for property tax relief,” Republican state Sen. Paul Bettencourt of Houston said Saturday. “They're recognizing the obvious, that Texas homesteads need it.”
State lawmakers are trying to find other ways to lower property taxes or at least slow down their growth — a pet issue for Texas Republicans. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked a state Senate committee chaired by Bettencourt to look into property tax reform measures or cuts ahead of the Texas Legislature’s next session in January.
“I expect there's going to be more done, obviously, than this,” Bettencourt said. “But the good news is no matter what, that's $175 in people's pockets in perpetuity.”
Texas homeowners’ property tax bills are among the highest in the nation — the result of the state’s reliance on property taxes to finance local governments, particularly public schools, as well as the lack of a state income tax. In general, the amount of property taxes a homeowner owes in a given year depends on the tax rates set by cities, counties and school districts where they live and the value of their home.