Gov. Abbott’s special session will include property tax relief. Here’s how much that’s increased in Austin

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Among the items Gov. Greg Abbott wants to take a look at this special session: property tax relief.

He hopes to approve legislation that would appropriate funding for that and other things, like cybersecurity and the state’s foster care program.

Real estate brokerage Redfin said the average Austin metro area homeowner paid $277 more in property taxes in 2020 than they did in 2019.

That’s a much larger increase than the year before — around $5.

Misael Ramos said it’s pushed some of his longtime neighbors out.

“Some of my neighbors have done like GoFundMes, as well as, like, just basic fundraisers to stay in their homes,” he said. “And to see those folks gone, it takes away from that culture, that charm.”

Local realtor Zac Barger said there is one positive aspect.

“As a homeowner, your property value’s going up when your property taxes are going up, so overall your net worth is increasing,” Barger said, who works with Wise Property Group.

But he said short term, it means many are finding it hard to keep up.

“There’s definitely individuals I know that are in a tough situation, because they’ve lived in a house for 30-plus years and the taxes are, you know, extremely higher than what they were when they first purchased that home,” Barger said.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan said funding for a property tax relief program will come from federal COVID-19 relief dollars and state revenue.

“The comptroller updated his biannual revenue estimate with an additional $7.5 billion that can be used for property tax relief or other items that the governor is seeing fit,” he said.

Ramos hopes lawmakers keep legacy families in mind when crafting a relief program.

“They’ve definitely put Austin on their back and developed it to where it is now,” Ramos said.

He’d also like to see some sort of abatement program or one that allows people to build additional dwelling units for low income families.

Cynthia Martinez, spokesperson for the Travis Central Appraisal District, said tax rates for this year have not yet been set. That’s usually done in the fall.

She said property owners will be able to view their potential tax bills around mid-August at www.travistaxes.com.

Martinez said that website will also be updated with hearing information, so neighbors can advocate for what they’d like their property taxes to look like.

She explained while TCAD does home appraisals, that is just one part of the property tax calculation. The total property tax rate “is largely determined by budgets set by taxing entities,” she said.

“An increase in market value does not necessarily mean an increase in property taxes,” she wrote in an email to KXAN.

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