FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/28/2013
REP. EDDIE RODRIGUEZ'S HB 3348 AND HJR 138 GAIN SUPPORT
Travis County Commissioners and Austin City Council Back Local Option Homestead Bill
AUSTIN, Texas – March 28, 2013 – This week Travis County Commissioners voted to support House Bill 3348 by Representative Eddie Rodriguez to amend the Texas Constitution to give cities and counties more flexibility in setting property tax rates through a local-option flat tax exemption. This vote of support from Travis County follows the Austin City Council approving a resolution in support of HB 3348 and HJR 138 last week allowing for a local-option flat-tax exemption to ad valorem taxes by local governments and directing the City of Austin's City Manager to add support of HB 3348 and HJR 138 to the City's legislative agenda.
“I am happy to hear that I have support from Travis County and the City of Austin on this bill," said Representative Rodriguez. "I hope the rest of our state's urban counties will follow suit.”
HB 3348 / HJR 138 would amend the Texas Constitution to allow local governments to grant a flat-dollar-amount homestead exemption, as an alternative to the percentage exemption currently permitted. A flat-dollar-amount exemption concentrates its benefits on lower- and middle-income homeowners better than a percentage exemption. In addition, the revenue loss to the exemption increases only with the number of homesteads; the loss to a percentage exemption grows much faster, increasing with both the number and value of homesteads.
“A flat dollar homestead exemption gives relief to those in our community who are struggling most under the property tax," stated Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt. "The benefits of our current percentage exemption go overwhelmingly to residents with the most expensive homes. Representative Rodriguez’s proposal spreads that benefit more fairly by providing greater tax relief to the average homeowner, the working and middle class folks in our neighborhoods.”
HB 3348 / HJR 138 would permit local governments to adopt a homestead exemption that is expressed as a flat-dollar-amount of at least $5,000 as an alternative to the percentage homestead exemption currently permitted. The bill is contingent on voter approval of a constitutional amendment permitting such an exemption.
Contact: Selena Saucedo Booth