In a recent Texas Senate Finance Committee Hearing, the subject of high property tax appraisals came up during a discussion on what should be done about the interim charge they were to consider related to property tax relief. The committee members acknowledged that many Texas homeowners are lamenting the massive increase in appraisals, acknowledging that the increase is unsustainable for most. State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) said that it is a shame that homeowners are bearing such a large burden of taxes while billion-dollar corporations are receiving massive tax breaks on the backs of Texans.
Whitmire continued by speaking about the disparity between how corporations are handled in Texas versus actual homeowners and when he concluded State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), and chairman of the committee, replied that she, “wanted to remind everyone, as we see these appraisals rising, that homeowners should see a decrease in the overall tax burden because of the “historic property tax relief” bills HB 3 and SB 2 which allows cities the option to lower rates to match the “No New Revenue Rate” in October when final bills actually come in.”
State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-N. Richland Hills) continued that thought by assuring other members that, “once the appraisal process is complete, the cities then have the ability to create their budget.” He then said, “My guess is we are going to see the majority of school districts lower their tax rates in August when those budgets are set. This is when you will know what the actual bill is going to be once they set the rate.” He then assured everyone that we just need to wait on the process.
Therein lies the problem for most homeowners who find themselves tired of waiting for our lawmakers to do something.
In response to Hancock, Huffman then said, “Although homeowners will probably see some growth (in property taxes), it shouldn’t be much.”
This comment reinforces what Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) has been saying for nearly a year. Lawmakers are content with the slowing growth of budgets and taxes but have no real desire to actually lower anyone’s tax bills. They believe that you as a homeowner should be happy that your already out-of-control tax bill is only going to continue to grow a little bit.
Hancock replied to Huffman’s comments by saying, “because of inflation, yes, most homeowners will see a small increase in their tax bills. However, it is ‘feasible’ that if your home value did not go up, that you might see a small reduction.” This amazing result, Hancock explained, is because of the “Historic” HB3 and SB2 passed in 2019 that have not lowered anyone’s tax bills so far.
In this interaction between seemingly ‘tone-deaf’ lawmakers, their real feelings about tax relief were on full display. The “historic” tax relief that lawmakers continue to promote from 2019 will result in… your tax burdens continuing to rise! IF you are lucky and your home appraisal did not go up (whose house has stayed the same value in the last 2 years?) AND if your school district is kind enough to do the right thing and lower their rate (we won’t hold our breath) you MIGHT see a small amount of relief.
This entire interaction simply shows that our lawmakers are completely in their own bubble when it comes to discussing what real property tax relief is. They are completely disconnected from everyday Texans who are trying to figure out how to simultaneously pay for an average $4.50 gasoline, rising food costs, and historically high property tax burdens (which are currently 6th highest in the nation).
All of this is why TFR recently released our Texas Prosperity Plan. We believe that it is time to stop playing defense and allowing these politicians to gaslight us into thinking we have experienced some sort of relief. No one’s bill is going down, and I have bad news for everyone, it is very unlikely that is going to change anytime soon unless we do something about it.
How can you help? Go read the Texas Prosperity Plan for yourself and voice your support for REAL property tax relief by signing up to support the TPP. Sign up for The Fiscal Note to keep up to date on all fiscal issues that affect Texans, especially our broken property tax system. We CAN get real tax relief if we amplify our voices loud enough.