December 1, 2016
The Texas Legislature made no secret that property tax caps will be a priority this session. Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) unveiled the Texas Property Reform and Relief Act of 2017 to lower the rollback rate, standardize the appraisal system and prevent municipal governments from challenging values.
But mayors from Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio and San Marcus say the bill would lead to budget cuts and fiscal losses. Austin Mayor Steve Adler went one step further, saying it would place first responders, transportation projects and safety nets at risk. “It’s risky, and not real tax relief,” he said, in a statement.
The Texas Municipal League agrees. “Cities get only 16% of the property taxes . . . while 55% is levied by school districts,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, adding that the legislature won’t deal with school finance, because it depends on school property taxes to balance the state budget.
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