SENATE VOTES TO INCREASE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
The Senate approved a resolution today that would put a measure on the November ballot that would allow Texas voters to decide whether to increase the homestead exemption for property taxes by 50 percent. Currently, homeowners are allowed to exempt $15,000 of the value of their homes from taxable value. Senate Joint Resolution 13, by Bryan Senator Steve Ogden, would increase that exemption to $22,500, if approved by voters. "I think it provides more real relief," said Ogden, "I think it is more broadly based than an across the board tax cut."
The proposed exemption translates to a cut of about $500 million in property taxes in the state, or about a 5 cent decrease per $100 valuation. An amendment offered by Palestine Senator Todd Staples would permit a further property tax reduction for Texans over 65 or for those who are handicapped and supported by social security.
Conferees from both chambers continued negotiations on House Bills 2 and 3, which address education finance and property tax reform in Texas. Members of the conference committees say that the House and Senate are close to an agreement on both measures. The legislature has until midnight Wednesday to reach a compromise before the first called session comes to its constitutionally-mandated close.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, July 19, at 11 a.m.