AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House of Representatives debated an amended version of Senate Bill 2 (SB2), the property tax reform bill, Tuesday. It was initially passed by a vote of 107-40 later in the evening.
Rather than calling it a "property tax reform bill" as is done in the Senate, Representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), who carried the bill in the House, calls it a property tax transparency bill.
"This bill will not reduce anyone's taxes. I have not ever said it would and I'm not going to tell anybody that it would," said Burrows.
The House-amended version of SB2 has quite a few differences compared to the Senate version. Most significantly, it ties Senate Bill 2 to House Bill 3, the school finance reform bill. Like the Senate version, it reduces the rollback rate for cities and counties to 3.5 percent, but differs because it leaves it at eight percent for hospital and community college districts and reduces the rollback rate to two percent for schools. It also changes property tax notices to make them easier to understand.
Lawmakers spent all day debating the bill and amendments and, at times, things were tense.
"We have people in the inner city of San Antonio, in the near west side and the near east side, in Dallas, Houston, Austin, just a nine iron away from us here that are being priced out, gentrified out of their homes and they're not asking for transparency, they're asking for a lower tax bill," said San Antonio Democrat Representative Roland Gutierrez.
He added the people of Texas need property appraisal reform to stabilize home values and ultimately lower property taxes.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released the following statement after the vote:
“For too long, Texans have watched their property taxes skyrocket while being reduced to tenants of their own property. That is not the Texas way.
Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Burrows and Chairman Bettencourt, Senate Bill 2 has passed both chambers and we are one step closer to reining in skyrocketing property taxes.
In the final days of the legislative session, I am confident this historic legislation, combined with additional reforms working their way through the system, will reach my desk where I will sign them into law. I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Bonnen and the entire Legislature to deliver lasting property tax relief to every Texan.”
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: