From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2006
CONTACT: Melissa del Bosque (512) 463-0120, cell (512) 947-4046

SEN. HINOJOSA FILES BILL TO RAISE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS FOR LOCAL HOMEOWNERS

TAX RELIEF PROPOSAL PART OF COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA TO HELP MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES

(McALLEN) -- State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa today rolled out another element in his comprehensive legislative agenda to help middle-class families, calling for a constitutional amendment that would provide tax relief by increasing property tax exemptions for homeowners while creating new jobs and economic growth in the state’s housing industry.

“Let’s make it easier for families to afford a home and achieve the American dream,” Sen. Hinojosa said. “It’s the right thing to do — economically and morally.”

Sen. Hinojosa’s bill would provide tax relief by giving local taxing units the authority to increase homestead exemptions to 30 percent of the value of their homes. Current law allows only 20 percent of a home’s value to be exempt from local property taxes.

Texas ranks 42nd among states for the number of citizens who can afford their own home, Sen. Hinojosa said, in large part because property taxes account for the second-biggest monthly cost of a home.

Sen. Hinojosa’s bill would set a statewide vote on the November 2007 ballot to allow local taxing units the flexibility to adopt the higher homestead exemptions and provide their local homeowners tax relief.

Under his bill, Sen. Hinojosa said, homeowners exemptions would automatically rise with any increase in their home’s value — a more equitable benefit than appraisal caps and other proposals expected to be considered when state lawmakers convene in Austin in January.

Sen. Hinojosa’s tax relief for middle-class homeowners is part of an ambitious legislative agenda that includes a three-year moratorium on rising college tuition rates, investments in proven public education and juvenile justice programs, and a measure to help restore balance and integrity in the state’s campaign finance laws.

Sen. Hinojosa said he will roll out the details of the rest of his legislative agenda for middle-class families in the days ahead.

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