By State Representative Tan Parker
May is a time that welcomes many activities from National Day of Prayer and time spent with moms to honoring the courage of those lost fighting for our freedoms.
It is also a time for local civic engagement with the upcoming May 7 election. Texas homeowners have begun receiving appraisal notifications from their county appraisal district.
While Texas does not have a state property tax system, our state Constitution and statutory law authorizes local governments to collect taxes that pay for services such as schools as well as building and maintaining roadways, providing for public safety such as police, fire and emergency services along with many other functions for your local community.
Despite local revenue caps (Senate Bill 2, Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019) and school finance reforms (House Bill 3, 2019) set by the Texas Legislature, homeowners know that receiving their appraisal notifications can bring sticker shock. Texas’ economy is booming, our population is growing, and these factors directly impact a very competitive housing market, driving home values to new levels.
Taxpayers are feeling the pain, especially for those with disabilities or on fixed incomes. Texans deserve stronger reforms and meaningful tax reductions to protect from being crushed by achieving homeownership. After all, government must always be accountable to the taxpayers who shoulder the burden every day.
One way voters can help is by participating in this upcoming election, which in addition to local races, will include two important Constitutional Amendments for Texans to reduce their tax bills, as a result of additional protections passed during the Texas Legislature Special Sessions of 2021. Both propositions appearing on the ballot passed by unanimous votes as SJR 2, which I co-sponsored as a member of the Texas House of Representatives.
Proposition 1 would reduce property taxes for elderly and disabled Texans by decreasing the amount they pay to public schools, which typically makes up most of a homeowner’s tax bill. This will benefit homeowners over the age of 65 and/or disabled Texans with the state’s compressed tax rate for school maintenance and operations (M&O). Furthermore, the amendment provides that if there is an additional school M&O tax rate compression provided by HB 3, individuals with an over 65 or disabled exemption will automatically receive the same percentage tax rate deduction.
Proposition 2 would raise Texas’ homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes. The amendment would be effective from January 1, 2022, thus saving homeowners on their annual property tax bill this fall.
If one or both amendments pass, no school district will lose any revenue they are entitled to receive from the school funding formulas. State dollars will replace any local dollars that a school district would otherwise lose.
May also brings the blessing of Mother’s Day, a time to honor our moms as they are the ones who consistently rise to meet whatever situation confronts them in life.
Whether biological, adoptive, step, in-law, or that reassuring woman who seemingly accepts everyone as one of her own, the strength of mothers encompasses every aspect of our world. One day a year to recognize the infinite contributions mothers make can never fully show the appreciation they are due. I see it with my wonderful wife, Beth, who inspires our family every day and from my own mom.
Throughout history, we have learned of the many heroic actions of women who have ignited love, hope, and perseverance out of a vision that comes from the eyes of a mother. Far too many stories are left untold, but rest assured, where a positive difference has been made in either one life or billions of others, a mother’s love is the common thread.
The last day of May honors the brave heroes who served our Nation’s military and fought for the freedoms and liberties we deeply cherish. We have lost many within our own communities who died with a love of country, a love of their fellow Americans, and the ideals that built and protect the gift of democracy. We must never forget these heroes, their families, and the greatest blessing to be an American. Every year, there is a moment of remembrance that takes place at 3 p.m. local time.
Whatever special meaning May holds, I hope you find cause for greater civic involvement as well as gratitude for the people who shape our world. Let’s also keep a special remembrance for the lives that were lost in service to this great Nation as their brave sacrifices are forever woven within the fabric of our society.
It is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives. Please stay in touch by calling me at 972.724.8477 or send an email to [email protected]. You can also find me on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.