Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) explained the Senate’s unprecedented $16.5 billion property tax bills in the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday March 15th, 2023. After hours of testimony, SB 3 & SB 4, worth $15 billion in property tax relief, were each passed out of the Senate Committee on Finance, Chaired by Senator Joan Huffman, (R-Houston) on a 17-0 bipartisan vote. SB 5 (Parker), the $1.5 billion business tax relief bill will be considered on Monday along with their associated Constitutional Amendments SJR 3, 4, & 5.
“I want to thank the regular citizens of Texas that took the time out of their schedules to come and support $15 billion of property tax relief, and also thank all the members of the Senate Finance Committee for listening to them and voting out SB 3 and SB 4,” said Senator Bettencourt.
Many groups came to the Capitol to testify on the Senate’s Tax Plan. For example, Christy Gessler, Secretary and Treasurer for the Texas Realtors’ testified in favor of SB 3 & SB 4 and said, “We believe in Homes for life…Anything that keeps people in their homes for their entire life is wonderful to us.” As a small business owner, she was also supportive of SB 5 as it would save her a days time not doing paperwork. “Giving business owners back their time is also important,” Senator Bettencourt added.
SB 3 was signed by all 31 Senators (as Joint Authors) and would raise the Homestead Exemption 75% to $70,000 for 5.72 million homeowners. SB 3 will also implement the voter-approved Homestead Exemption increase from $25,000 to $40,000 for all over-65 and disabled homesteads from Propositions 1 and 2 in May of 2022. In addition, SB 3 now triples the over-65 and disabled Homestead Exemption from $10,000 to $30,000 and that saves them $1,000 per-year, for as long as they own the home.
“I was honored by longtime tax attorney and business owner Jim Popp and his comments today about the Lincoln Institutes 5 points of a good property tax plan. He read through all 5 points and said, ‘BOOM!’ on each point, plus said it was the best tax plan he’s EVER seen!” He concluded.
SB 4 will provide an additional $5.38 billion in ISD tax rate compression and will reduce recapture by expanding the school finance band to 20%. Rate compression benefits all taxpayers and reduces recapture by funding additional Maximum Compressed Rate (MCR) compression in Finance Formulas.
“This is a little bit of history today. This is the first time I’ve shown up to a hearing with so many bills on the agenda, and we’re registered in support of every single one…I’m testifying in support [of all the bills] as a package,” said Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA) President, Dale Craymer. “It provides balanced relief for all taxpayers – rate compression obviously benefits all taxpayers.”
SB 3 and SB 4 head to the full Senate next. The Constitutional Amendments SJR 3, SJR 4, and SJR 5 for the November 2023 Election, and SB 5 will be heard Monday, March 20th.