Texas Senate Committee Advances Property Tax Relief Bills

Unprecedented $16 Billion Property Tax Relief Package Awaits Full Senate Vote

Lieutenant Governor's desk on the floor of the Texas Senate at the Texas State Capitol.

AUSTIN — The Senate Finance Committee has unanimously voted to move Senate Bill 5 and Senate Joint Resolutions 3, 4, and 5 forward, paving the way for a potential $16 billion property tax relief package for Texas residents. The full senate will now consider the legislation, which has been described by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt as "unprecedented blockbuster property tax relief."

The three joint resolutions have been rolled into a single constitutional amendment, which will be presented to voters for final approval during the November general election if the bills pass this legislative session. If the resolution passes in November, it will become a permanent component of the state constitution, making it more difficult to change in the future.

Senate Bill 3, which has been jointly authored by all 31 state senators, raises the school district homestead exemption for the 5.72 million Texas homesteads to $70,000 from the current $40,000. In addition, it provides homeowners who qualify for the Over-65 Exemption an extra $30,000 exemption, increasing the homestead exemption for older Texans to $100,000.

Senate Bill 4 dedicates $5.38 million to compressing school district tax rates by an additional 7.03 cents. According to lawmakers, this translates to tax savings of $756 in the first year and $798 in the second year for a home valued at the Texas average of $331,000, as reported by the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

Senate Bill 5 introduces an Inventory Tax Credit totaling $1.05 billion. If passed, it will raise the Business Personal Property Exemption to $25,000 from the current $2,500 and reduce business compliance costs.

State Sen. Joan Huffman, a Houston Republican and chair of the finance committee, emphasized the permanent nature of the proposed changes, stating, "We're budgeting with the idea that this is being paid for through a constitutional amendment." This would ensure the costs associated with the bill are included in the overall state budget but do not impact the previously set state spending cap.

  1. Source: Ali Linan CNHI Texas statehouse reporter