Property Tax Reform: The Facts
By Cody Harris
People are angry.
Property owners across our district began receiving their most recent property appraisals and the soaring values have people angry, and rightfully so. Where does it end? Will you be able to afford to keep your home or commercial property?
Calls continue to come into my office asking for solutions, answers, relief.
First and foremost, appeal your appraised value with your local appraisal district. It is one step you can take to help alleviate some of the pressure in the short term. It is a step you as a citizen can take on your own behalf for the immediate future. Yes, this is a temporary, less than adequate fix and that is why I am doing all I can on the legislative side to effect meaningful change.
I want to be sure that all of my HD8 constituents understand, the State of Texas collects no property taxes. Property tax dollars go to your city, to your county and to school districts. It is a complex system with many moving parts that is often difficult to understand. Regardless of how the money is collected and where it goes, the numbers have become unstainable for most Texans. Several constituents have told me their appraisals went up over 100% this year. That’s absurd.
Real, meaningful relief is imperative.
This is why the House of Representatives not only made property tax reform a priority for this session, but it is why we have passed HB2. We believe this is a sound answer to a serious problem. The House-approved bill would lower school district property taxes on average by 28 percent. It also includes a total tax compression rate of $.25 by FY 25. But, perhaps most importantly, this bill would include an annual 5% appraisal cap for all real property types per year. Your annual rate of increase on the taxable value could not ever increase more than 5% — a significant and much needed change from what we are currently witnessing. This includes residential properties, commercial properties, farms and ranches. HB2 would also require tax assessors to provide escrow accounts to any property owner who requests it. Under this plan, the average Texas homeowner would save $542 in 2024 and another $733 in 2025.
While HB2 easily passed in the House of Representatives, we now face a difference of opinion from the Lieutenant Governor (remember those text messages you received last week saying the Senate plan was better?). The Senate’s primary version of relief focuses on raising the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000. This is a short-term band aid to a long-term problem. It only applies to properties with a residential homestead exemption and it does exactly nothing to address the explosive appraisals that everyone is angry about.
I am committed to working with the Senate to provide long-term, effective relief for every Texas homeowner.
I know these are trying times and I share your frustration. Know that I am fighting for you and for all of us.
As always, I am so grateful for your support and please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.
State Representative Cody Harris is in his third term representing House District 8 which covers Anderson County, Cherokee County, Navarro County and a portion of Henderson County. Harris is a Republican and resides in Palestine with his family.