Property Tax Reform, SB 2, Passes Both Chambers – Read the views on both sides of the issue from Governor Abbott, Rep. Erin Zwiener and James Dickey, Republican Party of Texas Chairman…
Read the bill to find out what is in it: https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/86R/billtext/pdf/SB00002H .pdf#navpanes=0
Governor Greg Abbott today released the following statement after the Texas House passed Senate Bill 2 to rein in skyrocketing property taxes in Texas: “For too long, Texans have watched their property taxes skyrocket while being reduced to tenants of their own property. That is not the Texas way.
“Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Burrows and Chairman Bettencourt, Senate Bill 2 has passed both chambers and we are one step closer to reining in skyrocketing property taxes.
“In the final days of the legislative session, I am confident this historic legislation, combined with additional reforms working their way through the system, will reach my desk where I will sign them into law. I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Bonnen and the entire Legislature to deliver lasting property tax relief to every Texan.”
Yesterday, Senate Bill 2 passed the Texas House and advanced to Conference Committee. Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey commented:
“Thank you to the Republican Legislators in the Texas House for advancing sorely needed property tax reform. Texans have been overwhelmed by the crushing burden of skyrocketing property taxes – they have had enough. By allowing Texans to vote on any rate increase above 3.5%, our Republican leaders are requiring taxing units to be more transparent and giving hardworking taxpayers the opportunity to determine where their tax dollars are going.”
Texas Senate Bill 2 was filed by Senator Paul Bettencourt, and passed through the Texas Senate earlier this month.
“While there is still work that must be done to deliver the cuts Texans need, this is a tremendous step in the right direction. Yet again, our Republican Legislators have shown leadership on issues that will create brighter futures for all Texans,” Chairman James Dickey concluded.
State Representative Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) yesterday, joined 39 of her colleagues in voting against Senate Bill 2, which would establish a revenue cap of 3.5% for cities and counties. This arbitrary revenue cap (which is often lower than the cost of inflation) would provide no real tax relief to residents while potentially hampering our cities, counties, and emergency service providers from offering essential services to their communities.
“Disguised as tax relief, this bill will actually harm local communities around the state,” Rep. Zwiener said. “This bill is irresponsible. It could force our local elected officials’ hands: increasing emergency response times, draining resources for needed road construction, and causing our cities to levy increased fees for basic services. Senate Republicans are attempting a shell game with this bill, and I’m not playing.”
Several members of the House filed amendments to remedy concerns with the bill, including tying the revenue cap rate to a price index, exempting emergency service districts, exempting public safety expenditures, exempting transportation infrastructure, and Rep. Zwiener’s own amendment to exempt flood mitigation infrastructure. However, these key amendments failed to make it onto the bill, so Rep. Zwiener voted no.
“While I believe some of the transparency provisions in SB2 are admirable and worth supporting, I can’t vote for a bill that doesn’t reduce property taxes and endangers public safety,” said Rep. Zwiener. “If we want true tax relief, we need the state to start paying its fair share in public education, and we need to expand the homestead exemption to give homeowners another $325 off their property taxes.”