More Phony Numbers for Phony ‘Tax Relief’

Texas Municipal League
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 19, 2017

TML: More Phony Numbers for Phony ‘Tax Relief’

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is claiming huge tax savings for homeowners from the Senate-passed version of S.B. 2, the so-called “Property Tax Relief Act of 2017.”.  According to TheTexas Tribune, his estimate “is based on two unproven assumptions: That local taxes are growing 8 percent per year, the highest rate allowed before a rollback election can be called; and that if the law passes, they’ll rise 5 percent per year, the new maximum.”

Surveys of city tax rates conducted by the Texas Municipal League have found that over the past six years, the average increase in tax rates adopted by cities is 4.33 percent.  In any given year, only about one-third of cities increase their property taxes by more than four percent over the previous year. 

The Senate-passed version of S.B. 2 would not provide any tax relief for the vast majority of Texas homeowners.  ZERO.  Some homeowners might get a $2 or $3 per month reduction in the increase in city property taxes in some years and the reduction, if any, for elderly and disabled homeowners would be even less.

 Imposing a state revenue cap on cities will not reduce property tax bills because it is based on a false premise and sold to legislators and the public using misleading statistics.

This table shows the total annual “tax relief” for the owner of a $250,000 home in five cities if the Senate version of S.B. 2 had been in effect for the 2016 tax year.

 

 

With homestead exemption

With 65 & older exemption

Houston

$0

$0

Fort Worth

$0

$0

San Antonio

$12.01

$8.89

Dallas

$27.69

$18.83

Austin

$21.53

$13.81

 

An investigation by the Dallas Morning News, published Jan. 31, 2017, found “a group of lawmakers presented misleading data at hearings designed to foment anger about rising property tax bills, which senators falsely claim have grown nearly three times as fast as Texans’ ability to pay.”  The numbers currently being used by Lt. Gov. Patrick are a continuation of the misleading data being used to promote revenue caps on cities.

City property taxes are only a small part of tax bills.  Cities collect only 16 percent of the property taxes paid by Texans.  That’s why imposing state caps on city revenues and budgets will not produce real property tax relief for homeowners.

Anyone who tries to convince Texans that this is real property tax relief will look foolish and clueless when homeowners receive their next property tax bill after revenue caps become law.

The Senate’s “Tax Relief Act” is a hoax that would only deepen the anger and frustration of Texas taxpayers who are still waiting for real, meaningful tax relief that will only come when the Legislature increases the state’s share of funding for public schools.