TX House Passes Property Tax Relief, Adjourns

Property Tax Relief
Aerial photo of a neighborhood. | Image by Justin Greer/Shutterstock

The Texas House adjourned its special session Tuesday after passing its version of property tax relief, sending the legislation to the Texas Senate, which can either accept the House version of the bill or force another special session.

Governor Greg Abbott called the special session on property taxes and border security on Monday after the legislature failed to pass bills on these priorities during the regular legislative session, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Property tax relief is now in the hands of the Texas Senate, but the two chambers have disagreed on how to reduce property taxes since the beginning of the regular session.

House Speaker Dade Phelan has advocated cutting the state’s appraisal cap, while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has pushed for more property tax exemptions, particularly homestead exemptions.

However, both chambers agree that property tax compression should be included.

The Senate passed its property tax relief bill, including homestead exemptions and property tax compression, on Tuesday before going into recess until Friday.

Later in the day, the House passed its version of property tax relief along with border security legislation that cracks down on human smuggling.

Governor Abbott praised the House’s legislation in a statement on Tuesday, saying, “The Texas House is the only chamber that passed a property tax cut bill that is germane to the special session that I called to provide Texans with property tax relief.”

“It provides more cuts to property tax rates than any other proposal at this time,” he said. “It is supported by the most respected tax think tank in the state, as well as more than 30 homeowner, consumer, and business groups across the state. I look forward to signing it when it reaches my desk.”

The tax think tank Governor Abbott referred to is the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA).

“We appreciate the swift action by the House to pass a bill that provides meaningful, permanent property tax cuts showing up in Texas mailboxes this year,” said TTARA President Dale Craymer.

However, Lt. Gov. Patrick lambasted the House in a Tuesday morning speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and blamed Speaker Phelan for the legislature’s failure to resolve property tax relief during the regular session.

“I’m tired of the dysfunction in the house,” he said. “This should be easy. It’s three Republican leaders. I shouldn’t need to take Tylenol three times a day.”

“Do you think the governor is going to veto a homestead exemption? No,” Patrick added. “I’m not worried about the governor signing it. The House has got to pass it.”

Phelan responded that the Senate’s version of property tax relief would not pass because it is “not germane to the governor’s call” for the session.

“I want to thank Governor Abbott for his leadership and willingness to work with the House as we negotiated on these issues,” he said. “His special session call gave us clear-cut direction to buy down property taxes using tax compression, and the passage of today’s legislation fulfills that call.”

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