An $18 billion tax cut for property owners in the state is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk late Thursday.
Both chambers adjourned on Thursday evening, ending the second special session Abbott had called this summer to hammer out an agreement on property tax relief.
A cheer went up on the chamber floors upon the passage of the three bills that make up the package: Senate Bill 2, which details the proposed property tax cuts; Senate Bill 3, a franchise tax relief bill; and House Joint Resolution 2, a constitutional amendment required to authorize the tax cuts.
The package puts $12.6 billion of the state’s historic budget surplus toward making cuts to school taxes for all property owners, dropping property taxes an average of more than 40% for some 5.7 million Texas homeowners, and offering brand-new tax savings for smaller businesses and other commercial and non-homesteaded properties. The voters would need to approve the package in November for the cuts to take effect this year.
It also offers additional cuts for seniors and property owners with disabilities, averaging about $170 more per year, Bettencourt said.
The most novel part of the plan, an idea introduced publicly for the first time on Monday, is a first-ever temporary 20% cap on appraisal increases for properties valued at $5 million or lower that aren’t considered homesteads. Those would include second homes, vacation properties, rental houses, or commercial retail or business properties.
Including more than $5 billion approved four years ago, the legislation also allocates nearly $12.6 billion to reduce the school property tax rate by 10.7 cents per $100 valuation for all homeowners and business properties.