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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Texas Legislature Prioritizes Property Tax Relief That Picks Winners and Losers

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On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives gave final approval to legislation purporting to provide property tax relief for Texans.

Notably, they did so while another bill filed in their own chamber that would actually provide lasting relief continues to languish in the House Appropriations Committee, awaiting a hearing.

Texans’ Increasing Property Tax Burdens

Texans across the state are reporting ever-increasing property tax burdens and hoping to receive tangible property tax relief out of the ongoing special legislative session.

In March of this year, the Tax Foundation reported that Texas is ranked as the state with the sixth-highest property tax rate, preceded only by Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Despite campaign promises from Republican lawmakers, who have controlled the state Legislature and every statewide office for nearly two decades, Texans have seen their property tax burdens increase by 181 percent in that time, continuing to quickly outpace several other states.

Property tax relief was not something that was prioritized in the 87th regular legislative session that concluded in May. Gov. Greg Abbott did add it as an item to be considered on his agendas for both the first and ongoing second called special legislative sessions.

Ongoing Second Special Legislative Session

Now, both the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives have chosen to prioritize three bills to fit the agenda item prescribed by Abbott.

One of these bills would allow for someone who acquires property to also qualify for the homestead exemption from property taxes within the first year of that acquisition. The others would put it to voters to compress tax rates for those over 65 or disabled. Altogether, supporters of those bills believe they will provide some property tax relief over the next few years, although some critics believe it is nowhere near enough to

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