Texas State Senator-Elect Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) delivered on a campaign promise and filed a property tax relief bill as his first piece of legislation as a newly elected Senator. The bill, SB 182 provides for property tax relief to homeowners and business owners who have been overburdened by property taxes by cutting the property tax rollback in half.
Bettencourt campaigned on property tax relief as one of his primary platform issues. “The problem is simple,” Senator-Elect Bettencourt said. “As property values go up, tax rates rarely go down. The result is that property tax bills can soar by nearly 10% or more a year, which is at least twice as fast as most Texan’s paychecks.”
Property tax relief has been a major topic of discussion for years, but now it is getting traction all across the state. The recent city elections in Austin shined a bright spotlight on the issue according to an article on KXAN. Many of the mayoral candidates issues strong statements for property tax relief.
Bettencourt illustrated the proposal by using a median home value in the City of Austin which is listed as $349,000. Residents with only the basic homestead exemptions pay a tax rate of $2.38 per $100 of value, or an average of $7,768 in taxes. If those rates were based on a 4 percent rollback rate instead of 8 percent, they would fall to $2.33 per $100, reducing the tax burden to $7,575, a cut of $193. In Austin, in just one year, the average home value increased by 14.2 percent from 2013 to 2014 and similar increases occurred in other Texas cities and counties. This illustration was obtained in a press release from Sen. Bettencourt obtained by Breitbart Texas.
“We have seen record increases in property tax appraisals across the state due to Texas’ job creation engine,” Bettencourt explained. “Tax rolls are up 10 percent or more in cities like Houston, Dallas, and Austin, as well as for many taxing jurisdictions around the state in economic boom towns like Midland-Odessa or the Eagle Ford Shale area from the Mexican border south of San Antonio all the way to Brazos County.”
“Letting taxpayers keep nearly $200 per homeowner is just the start of property tax relief in Texas,” Bettencourt continued. “If property appraisals go up, tax rates should come down; otherwise property tax bills will continue to go through the roof. In this example, a 5 penny tax rate cut means that homeowners and business owners would both get the same tax relief because the taxing jurisdictions would have to keep their rates below the new, lower rollback tax rate limit.”
Bettencourt said that tax bills cannot continue to grow twice as fast as the paychecks of Texas taxpayers. His bill will mandate a tax rate election if any city, country or special district property tax revenues grow by more than 4 percent from the previous tax year, excluding new construction. Currently, under Texas law taxpayers must petition the taxing authority to lover excessive tax rates.
Bettencourt said he plans to file additional property tax relief legislation as the new legislative session approaches. Bettencourt was elected on November 4th to fill the seat of Sen. Dan Patrick who was elected as Lt. Governor and represents a large suburban area of west and northwest Harris County. He previously served in Harris County as the Property Tax Assessor/Collector and has been known by the people of Harris County as “The Tax Man.” Both Bettencourt and Lt. Governor-Elect Patrick have long been advocates for property tax relief.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX. ... See MoreSee Less