Author Topic: Want lower property taxes? Here's how your bill could change under Texas lawmakers' proposals  (Read 329 times)

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Dallas News by Rebekah Allen and Ariana Giorgi 3/17/2019

The tax bill for an average Dallas County homeowner jumped 55 percent from 2013 to 2018 — and 15 percent in the past year. That’s an increase of more than $1,900 in just six years.

But Dallas isn’t alone. Property tax hikes are affecting people across the state, pushing vulnerable Texans out of homeownership and taking a toll on small-business owners in fast-growing cities.

Lawmakers have boldly promised that this year, they will deliver taxpayer relief. But what would that amount to for the average homeowner in North Texas?

According to a Dallas Morning News analysis, it could shave a few hundred dollars off the average tax bill. But one of the plans wouldn’t reduce the bill at all, only slow how fast it grows.

To curb property taxes, lawmakers have pitched capping tax revenue collected by local governments, increasing homestead exemptions and swapping property taxes for sales taxes, among other plans.

Property tax revenue caps

Texas’ top elected officeholders — including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — support bills to curb how much property tax revenue local governments and school districts can collect.

Under House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 2, they couldn’t collect more than 2.5 percent in additional property tax revenue over the previous year — a limit that would push down tax rates as property values increase. However, taxing entities could hold elections to exceed the revenue cap.

Notably, under this plan, property tax bills wouldn't get smaller. Because the caps allow for some growth, they could still climb, but at a slower rate.

That's a savings that's hard to see. But a Dallas Morning News analysis found that the average Dallas County homeowner would have paid $445.87 less in property taxes last year if the 2.5 percent cap had been in place from 2013 to 2018.

The analysis was based on the average Dallas County taxable home value of $191,579 in 2018. It assumes the homeowner paid about $5,432 in property taxes in 2018 to Dallas County, the city of Dallas, Parkland Hospital District, Dallas County Community Colleges and Dallas ISD.

But under a scenario with the cap, that homeowner would have paid $4,986 because the districts would have imposed lower tax rates. Dallas taxpayers may pay property taxes to a variety of other entities, depending on where they live in the county.


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