What’s wrong with property taxes?
Representative Glenn Rogers
Texas’ relationship with property taxes is as old as the state itself.
For more than a century after our independence from Mexico, state property taxes supported more than half of total state revenue. Meanwhile, the system placed a heavy burden on local authorities to collect and assess taxes without any guidance from the Texas government.
Texans were taxed at high rates with little transparency. In 1979, as the state’s property tax rate began to spiral out of control, state representative Wayne Peveto drafted a bill reforming the local property tax system to move away from a unreliable state property tax method.
The “Peveto Bill” did a lot to create the current tax system we have today. Local property taxes levied by various local institutions, such as school districts, counties, towns and special use districts, should be administered by the dedicated county assessment districts.
Counties have established appraisal review boards to protect a resident’s right to challenge an appraisal and to hold elected officials accountable for tax rates. These reforms helped normalize the property tax system in Texas.
Three years later, after decades of delinquency and uncontrolled spending, the legislature abolished the state property tax.
In 2021, the property tax system is again in desperate need of repair.
Despite having one of the lowest effective tax rates in the country, Texas now has the sixth highest property tax rate in the country. In rural areas, such as House District 60, the effects of this tax burden have drastic impacts on our residents.
First, rural areas tend to have lower median or fixed incomes.
Second, rural Texans tend to be older and closer to retirement, further limiting their ability to “pay to stay.”
Third, rural Texas has a weaker rental base. In Dallas or Houston, the many apartment complexes and multi-family living centers make it possible to share the individual tax burden among many residents. In rural communities, single-family homeownership is the primary form of housing available – placing all of the onus on the permanent owner.
Although rural Texas has less capacity to pay higher taxes, it is in dire need of vital public services such as education, health care, and utilities, all of which increase the local tax rate. This burden is hurting the growth of our small town communities. It hurts young couples trying to settle for the first time, families looking to escape failing urban school systems, and fixed-income retirees who can’t afford the home they’ve owned for decades.
It is important to note that the state does not have a property tax rate and does not collect property taxes. Local tax entities set rates and collect taxes. Fortunately, the legislature has taken steps to try and reduce the tax burden on our residents by capping tax rates, ending unfunded mandates, and giving homeowners more transparency and the ability to veto tax. significant tax increases.
In 2019, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 2, the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act, which brought much-needed reforms and relief to the property tax system. In the last session, I co-authored and supported Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) Bill 3833, which will save landowners $ 472 million over the next five years.
My office also introduced several bills that would have lowered property taxes for landowners and landowners. Additionally, I supported Representative Morgan Meyer’s (R-Dallas) Bill 2723, which improves transparency provisions from 2019 by launching a statewide website at texas .gov / propertytaxes, where homeowners can find their local Tax Truth website.
During the special session, Governor Greg Abbott put property tax relief on the agenda of the Legislature. Senate Bill 8 removes the family property exemption period for new owners during their first year of ownership. At the same time, Senate Bill 12 and Senate Joint Resolution 2 provide at least $ 197 million in assistance for elderly and disabled homeowners. The legislature will also allocate funds to the State Property Tax Relief Fund to reimburse homeowners for their heavy tax burdens.
This special session, I also co-wrote House Bill 122 by Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress). This bill would allow the state to use 90% of its $ 7.92 billion budget surplus to the Property Tax Relief Fund to reduce school district taxes to negligible amounts for the majority. from Texas homeowners.
House Bill 122 would be the largest property tax relief credit in Texas history and put property taxes on the path to permanent elimination. Time will tell if this bill will pass before the end of the session.
Due to a lack of quorum at Texas House, millions of property tax breaks for our communities have stalled. Fortunately, Texas House is now back to work to provide this necessary legislation to Texans. We must act now to provide this essential relief and prevent rural Texans from being taxed outside their homes.
Representative Glenn Rogers is the representative for Texas House District 60.