LANDGRAF: $17.6 billion back in your pocket

By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

Just over a week ago Governor Abbott called a special session for the purpose of cutting down property taxes. I’m proud to report that your Texas House of Representatives wasted no time in fighting to significantly reduce the property tax burden on Texans and make a tangible difference on your bank account. With property taxes levied and collected by local governments, rather than the state government, the legislature has to get creative in coming up with methods to rein in local governments and provide actual property tax relief.

It is undeniable there was work to be done to give Texans true property tax relief and Governor Abbott and the Texas House of Representatives are working together to get it done for the taxpayer. As the governor has said, we don’t do things half-heartedly in Texas. We go big. And that’s exactly what we are doing in the Texas House. Just one day into this special session I proudly voted alongside my colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives to provide the largest property-tax cut in Texas history.

We’re proposing a property tax reform plan in the form of HB 1 and HJR 1 that — when combined with the state budget — will provide a total of $17.6 billion in property tax relief by using that money to pay property taxes that you would otherwise have to pay.

This plan put forth by Governor Abbott and the Texas House takes a bold step towards providing substantial relief to Texans. The Texas Senate must now pass HB 1 before it can head to the Governor’s desk for his signature and HJR 1 before it can head to Texas voters for approval.

I’ve supported efforts to reduce the property tax burden on Texans at every opportunity, including during the most recent regular legislative session. Unfortunately, negotiations between the House and Senate broke down late last month over how best to provide meaningful property tax relief for Texas property owners, which is why the legislature is back for a special session to get the job done. This fight is not new to me, and I will not back down until Texas property owners are no longer renting from local governments.

Since 2015, I’ve supported increasing the homestead exemption to $25,000, requiring cities and counties to obtain voter approval if they seek to adopt a tax rate that would increase property taxes by more than 3.5%, reforming the property tax system to make it more transparent, allocating $5 billion to provide property tax relief by lowering tax rates in 2020 and 2021 and requiring school districts to conduct efficiency audits before they are allowed to ask voters for a tax increase, and reducing the property tax burden on Texas seniors.

I thank Governor Abbott for his leadership in prioritizing property tax relief for the people of Texas and for working hand in hand with Speaker Phelan and the Texas House of Representatives to make it happen. Texans want and deserve meaningful property tax relief and that is precisely what we will continue fighting for.

God bless Texas!