May 5, 2015
Cities, counties and other local governments would have another way to reduce property taxes for homeowners under Sen. Kirk Watson’s legislation that the Texas Senate passed on Tuesday.
The approval of Senate Bill 279 and its companion constitutional amendment, SJR 20, is a major step toward improving affordability for homeowners in Austin and beyond. The legislation gives cities and counties the option to provide a flat-amount property tax exemption for homeowners.
“We need to give cities and counties every available tool to reduce property taxes for homeowners and improve affordability,” Sen. Watson said. “This change would ensure that property tax relief is directed at the homeowners who need it most. The objective is to give local jurisdictions additional tools for reducing local property taxes while retaining the authority to pick what option works best for the local community.”
Improving affordability has been a top priority for Sen. Watson, who has pushed several bills aimed at addressing fairness and transparency in the property tax and appraisal system.
The votes on Senate Bill 279 and its companion constitutional amendment, SJR 20, were nearly unanimous. The legislation is now headed to the House of Representatives. Voter approval is also required.