AUSTIN, Texas — Texas House lawmakers have initially approved the largest property tax cut in state history.
On Thursday, after months of back and forth between the House and Senate on how to give Texans tax relief, the House ultimately voted to combine the chambers' plans.
From memes on Twitter to personal attacks, it seemed as though Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan were not going to agree on which plan to pass. The House's solution to combine the plans will now give Texas residents an even larger tax break.
The House-approved version of Senate Bill 3 increases the homestead tax exemption, which is the amount of a home's value that can't be taxed, from $40,000 to $100,000. For Texans 65 and older, the number rises to $110,000.
The Senate's original plan only increased the value up to $70,000 for owners and $100,000 for seniors.
The bill also includes the House plan to reduce the property appraisal cap from 10% to 5% for all property in Texas, businesses and homes alike.
SB 3 compresses the school district tax rate and estimates that Texans who own homes valued at $350,000 would save $2,800 over two years.
"Members, we must take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity by sending the largest tax cut in our state's history to the governor's desk," State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) said. "The committee substitute for SB 3 provides immediate and permanent property tax relief and provides and improves the predictability of the property tax system."
The bill, paired with provisions in the state budget, would give Texans $21 billion in relief. To pay for the cuts, the State would put about $15.5 billion into the public education system, with a "no hold harmless" clause to ensure districts don't lose funding.
The bill initially passed on a vote of 140 to 5. The House will take a final vote Friday and then send the bill back to the Senate, where lawmakers can agree to the changes or request a conference committee to work out the differences.
Only 11 days remain in the legislative session.