Property Tax Relief to come to Texans

Plus, ASU professor named President of TxATE and more

Property Tax Relief to come to Texans
Photo by Asa Rodger / Unsplash

One big thing: Property Tax Relief coming to Texans starting with 2023 tax year

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Photo by Adam Thomas / Unsplash

The news: After a monthslong standoff among Texas’ top Republicans, state GOP lawmakers finally struck a deal Monday on how to cut Texans’ property taxes.

The $18 billion compromise between the Texas House and Senate — which includes more than $5 billion approved for property tax relief in 2019 — would lower taxes for the state’s 5.7 million homeowners and add a temporary cap on appraisal increases for some non-homesteaded properties.

It would also cut franchise taxes for small businesses and send billions of dollars to school districts so they can cut their taxes across the board. However, none of that money will go toward additional public education funding, according to legislation filed by state budget leaders on Monday.

The proposal must clear both chambers before it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Abbott said he looks forward to approving it. Then voters must pass the plan in a constitutional election in November. If voters approve the deal, the cuts would start with the 2023 tax year.

The deal marks the end of a stalemate among the state’s top Republicans that lasted nearly seven months as they butted heads over how to dole out $12.3 billion in new tax breaks budgeted by lawmakers earlier this year.

Republicans came to Austin this year with a nearly $33 billion surplus and big promises to use a big chunk of it to provide tax relief to Texas property owners, who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. But for most of the year, the heads of the House and Senate — Phelan and Patrick — couldn’t come to terms on how to do it.

The main dividing line came over whether homeowners or business owners would get a bigger tax break. Phelan and House lawmakers wanted to send the entire $12.3 billion in new money to school districts to lower their tax rates, a kind of tax cut referred to as “tax rate compression.” Doing that would result in across-the-board cuts for all property owners, but it would most benefit business owners.

Abbott and conservative tax-cut warriors saw the proposal as a way to put the state on a quicker path to eventually eliminating the school maintenance and operations tax, the bulk of the school property tax that pays for day-to-day school expenses like teacher salaries. But as the weeks dragged on, Abbott’s support for a compression-only tax-cut proposal seemed to wane as he encouraged House and Senate leaders to come to a deal and send him a bill.

Patrick and Senate tax-cut writers had agreed with the House on allocating $12.3 billion for property tax cuts but wanted to use only 70% of that amount for tax rate compression so they could use the rest to pay for a boost to the state’s school district homestead exemption, the amount of a home’s value that can’t be taxed to pay for public schools. Patrick and Bettencourt, Patrick’s lieutenant on the tax-cut issue, pushed for raising the exemption from $40,000 to $100,000.

The details:

  • $12.6 billion to reduce the school property tax rate by 10.7 cents per $100 valuation for homeowners and business properties
  • an increase to the state’s homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 at an estimated cost of $5.3 billion
  • extra relief for seniors and property owners with disabilities, averaging an extra $170 per year
  • institute a three-year, 20% cap on appraisal increases for commercial and non-homesteaded properties valued at $5 million or below

Reaction from Abbott, Patrick, and Phelan:

"I promised during my campaign that the state would return to property taxpayers at least half of the largest budget surplus we have ever had,” Abbott said in a statement after Monday’s announcement. “Today’s agreement between the House and the Senate is a step toward delivering on that promise. I look forward to this legislation reaching my desk, so I can sign into law the largest property tax cut in Texas history.” - Abbott

“It has been a long road, but this is a great day for all property owners. It may have taken overtime, but the process has produced a great bill for homeowners and businesses.” - Patrick

“Reducing property taxes, providing relief to small-business owners, and reforming our appraisal system will ensure economic growth and prosperity, and this agreement is a significant victory for all Texans" - Phelan

Why it matters: The deal, which comes in a second special session, is one that will help both those who own their own homes (Patrick's priority) as well as businesses (Phelan's Priority). It will bring much needed relief to people in the Concho Valley. It is yet to be seen what will happen going forward when there isn't a budget surplus like there was this year. With there not being a personal income tax in Texas, the state will continue to have to get the tax revenue from other means which means the property tax will continue to be high. The governor may think that property taxes are immoral but those immoral taxes help maintain school funding.

The full story from the Texas Tribune:

Texas House and Senate reach a deal on how to cut property taxes
The deal would channel $12 billion to reduce the school property tax rate for homeowners and business properties, increase the homestead exemption, and create a pilot program to reduce taxes on certain residential and commercial properties. The legislation is expected to pass later this week.

Dr. Tia Agan named TxATE President

The news: The Chair of Angelo State University's Department of Teacher Education, Dr. Tia Agan, has been elected as the President of the Texas Association of Teacher Educators (TxATE) for a one-year term that will run until June 2024. TxATE is a state organization that is dedicated to promoting best practices for educating and creating quality teacher candidates through professional development and research. As President, Dr. Agan will serve as the organization's official representative at state and national conferences, preside over all business meetings, coordinate all TxATE activities, and serve as a representative on the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (CSOTTE) board.

Zoom out: TxATE's presence in San Angelo is not limited to Agan. Recently, the organization awarded McGill's Lisa Taiclet as their Distinguished Clinician of the Year. Taiclet was notified while she was teaching by a group which included Agan in her role as president-elect.

Agan's background:

A 1999 Angelo State alumna, Agan is also an associate professor and most recently the coordinator of ASU's Master of Science in educational leadership with Texas principal certification degree program. She joined the ASU faculty in 2017 after spending five years as a field experience advisor in the ASU College of Education's Educator Preparation Information Center. Prior to joining ASU, she spent 19 years in the San Angelo Independent School District as an elementary teacher and principal, and then ultimately as principal at the former Central Freshman Campus.

Dr. Tia Agan Named President of State Educators Association
Agan is a graduate of Texas Christian, Angelo State, and Texas Tech.

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