A top priority of Gov. Greg Abbott won initial approval from the Texas House Saturday. Lawmakers advanced a bill that aims to limit the amount that larger cities and counties can increase property taxes. The bill passed with a vote of 98-43. It still needs to get a final vote in the House before differences are worked out with the Senate.
Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, repeatedly said the measure would not save taxpayers money. The Governor, Lt. Governor and other Senate Republicans have said otherwise.
“It does not provide one ounce of property tax relief,” Bonnen said Saturday during floor debate. “It’s not intended to and anybody who suggests that is giving you bad information.”
Bonnen said the bill would provide more transparency about how the tax process works.
Currently, voters can petition for an election to roll back the tax rate if the city or county’s new revenue exceeds eight percent.
The House version would require an automatic rollback election if the new revenue exceeds six percent. The Senate has set the rate at four percent.
Cities and counties have aggressively opposed the measure. They said it could hamstring their budgets and make it harder to provide critical services like police and firefighters.
Others argue the only way to provide true property tax relief is to fix the state’s troubled school finance system.