Property Tax Relief from Texas: House Democrats Unveil $20.9B Plan

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The COVID-19 pandemic may be over, but many are still feeling its financial effects. Thus, many lawmakers are working continuously to offer help to households in one form or another. House Democrats have submitted a proposal to offer property tax relief from Texas to eligible residents.

Property Tax Relief From Texas: What Does It Include?

Last week, Texas House Democrats introduced a $20.9 billion proposal to offer property tax relief by way of tax compression, raising the homestead exemption and giving annual rebates to renters.

Under the proposal, homeowners would get an exemption of the higher of $100,000 or 25% of their home’s appraised value (maximum of $200,000).

Along with the property tax relief from Texas, the proposal also integrates annual teacher pay raises into the state’s school financing system. State. Rep. John Bryant, D-Dallas, proposed this bill, called House Bill 62.

“Texans pay the fifth highest property taxes in the nation, yet our state is 44th in its support for public education. Neither ranking is acceptable,” Rep. Bryant said. “We believe a property tax relief plan should simultaneously address both.”

Democrats’ HB62 raises the basic allotment for public schools by $1,000, as well as indexes it to inflation. This creates a permanent raise for teachers annually, amounting to $4,300 per year.

Further, the bill proposes to use $3.8 billion to send a cash rebate of up to $10% of the rent paid in the previous tax year. Renters who have rented a primary residence from the same landlord over a 12-month period, would qualify for a 10% rebate on their annual rent paid.

To get the rebate, renters will have to obtain a “certificate of rent paid” from landlords and submit the same to the state’s comptroller office. The amount of rebate renters get would depend on the number of applications.

Rebate To Renters Makes HB62 Unique

Giving rebates to renters makes HB62 significantly different from previously considered property tax bills. Unlike several other states, Texas doesn’t offer explicit tax breaks to renters. Also, none of the GOP property tax relief proposals includes any element that benefits renters directly.

The rebate to renters would offer much-needed relief considering the consistent rent increases across Texas’ major metropolitan areas. Renters make up 38% of Texans.

A few weeks back, the state Senate came up with a similar proposal to increase the homestead exemption to $100,000. The proposal also calls for raising teachers’ pay in urban districts by $2,000 and by $6,000 in rural areas over the next two years.

Despite differences in proposals, Rep. Bryant hopes the legislation will be acceptable to the members in the majority as it includes offering incentives for tax relief and teacher pay.

Moreover, Rep. Bryant also noted that if the legislation fails to move ahead in one bill, then parts of the bill could be included as amendments to other bills from the House.