Texans will likely get some property tax relief after two constitutional amendments were widely approved by voters over the weekend. While the approved propositions will provide a modest tax break, the results emphasize Texas voters’ support of keeping property taxes in check amid soaring property values and home appraisals across the state.
Philip Jankowski, a state politics reporter for The Dallas Morning News, joined Texas Standard to recap the election and look ahead to what’s next for Texans.
What will Propositions 1 and 2 do?
Both were related to property tax relief for school district taxes, Jankowski said, and both passed with about 85% support (though the election overall had low turnout, about 7.5%):
– Proposition 1: Related to property tax relief for people over the age of 65 or disabled. It essentially provides a bit of property tax relief to folks within those demographics that already have some exemptions, Jankowski said.
– Proposition 2: An increase of the homestead exemption for school district taxes from $25,000 to $40,000.
As Texans see reductions in their tax bills, it’s still unclear how the state will make up for the loss of funding, Jankowski said.
“We love to vote for tax relief. We don’t really take into account how we’re going to pay for it,” he said. “There is a budget surplus that likely will be tapped for some of this, but neither proposition called for any sort of way to replace that funding.”
Tax relief and the Texas governor’s race
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rouke, have been campaigning on the issue ahead of November’s gubernatorial matchup.
“Neither of them has really gone into the propositions themselves, but both Abbott and O’Rourke have their own tax plans,” Jankowski said. “O’Rourke has been attacking Abbott, just basically pointing out the numbers over his tenure as governor, which, you know, everybody, anyone who owns a home and pays taxes can point out that their tax bill has increased during his tenure. How much of that is due to Abbott and how much of that is due to just the state of the housing market in Texas is highly debatable.
“The specifics are not entirely ironed out. Beto proposes reducing some of the property tax revenue with things like, you know, legalized marijuana. He’s kind of hinted that he might be in favor of legalized gambling in Texas. Abbott hasn’t really proposed anything. If he did propose something like that, it would seem pretty, pretty radical for him.”