AUSTIN (Nexstar) – One of the key moments shaping the path of the legislative session happened the day before the session started. That’s when State Comptroller Glenn Hegar revealed the Biennial Revenue Estimate, which tells lawmakers how much money they’ll have to spend on the state budget.
Hegar said the state will have more money available than ever before, fueling a push for property tax relief. Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have vowed to work toward that goal.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt could be a key player in the reform debate. The Houston Republican serves on the Senate Finance Committee and has worked on previous legislation aimed at cutting property taxes.
“We’ve had some success where in many of the major urban areas of the state, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, homestead tax bills are actually down,” Bettencourt said of the effect of previous legislation.
In May, Texas voters approved two property tax relief amendments. The constitutional changes included a tax freeze for the elderly and Texans with disabilities starting in 2023 and an increased homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes.
Bettencourt said there could be a similar situation this time around, with Texas voters once again being asked to vote on constitutional changes as a result of tax relief legislation at the Capitol.
“There’s nothing wrong with letting people vote on their own money,” Bettencourt said. “That’s really what these excess tax collections are. It’s the public’s money.”
Bettencourt said the revenue forecast should improve the prospect of lasting tax relief.
“So now we’ve got billions more to spend, and we’re going to take more action,” Bettencourt said. “Because long-term property tax relief is good not only for homeowners, but business owners, and it’s especially good to keep the Texas economic engine going, which is jobs and job creation.”