88th LegislatureStatewide NewsTaxes & SpendingTexas House Appraisal Cap Plan Dead on Arrival, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Says

The House will vote on its plan Thursday and again on Friday before the bills move over to the Senate.
April 13, 2023
Just before the House was set to take up its priority property tax plan on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made clear its chances in his chamber: dead on arrival.

At the tail end of his press conference alongside Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) on mental health support expansion, Patrick laid into his counterparts across the Capitol rotunda.

“Let me be very clear — I said it before session, I said it at the beginning of session, and I’ve said it recently — you don’t negotiate on bad math,” Patrick said. “The homestead exemption brings a hundred thousand dollar exemption to seniors; seniors’ appraisals are already capped.”

“Under the House bill, they get zero from the appraisal reduction.”

The House’s plan would reduce the current homestead appraisal cap to 5 percent and expand it to all property, not just residences. It also has $17 billion for rate compression, but the dividing line has been on appraisal reform. The Senate prefers a medley of exemption increases paired with a business inventory tax.

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Despite being a smaller component of the property tax issue, disagreement between the chambers has burned hot. A poll released earlier this week by the Texas Association of Property Tax Professionals really set the debate ablaze.

Neither side has been willing to give in so far.

The Senate’s plan — the combination of Senate Bills 2, 3, and 4 — passed unanimously in the upper chamber and now awaits movement in the House.

“By the way, I’m not the only one saying this. 31 senators voted for it, the realtors have said the appraisal drop is hurtful to the market, the business community has said it, tax experts have said it, and the people have said it,” Patrick said.

“We can negotiate on just about everything, but I do not negotiate on bad math … There’s a handful of people who want the appraisal cap, and the speaker’s one of them and he’s sticking to it. Every once in a while, you have to acknowledge maybe you were wrong. I have.”

Patrick has said frequently he used to think appraisal caps were the answer but has since changed his position.

He continued, “Again, if I go back to the key issue, it’s just the math. And the math doesn’t work with appraisal caps. We will not pass those.”

The Senate estimates that average homeowners will see $800 in “savings” on what their tax bills would have been without the exemption increase; they estimate an elderly or disabled homeowner’s “savings” will be around $1,000.

Meanwhile, the House estimates its plan’s “savings” will amount to $542. But they contend that the permanent reform — which will not require adding or appropriating more money down the road to compensate for appraisal increases — will be more beneficial for all property owners in the long run, not just homeowners.

The House will vote on its plan Thursday and must reach 100 votes for the constitutional amendment to pass, otherwise it will have one less bargaining chip with the Senate when the appraisal fight comes to a head.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.