Texas Constitutional amendment propositions and what they mean for property owners

By BRITTANY FHOLER

Cove Leader-Press

 

Texans are heading to the polls to decide on two separate propositions this week and next week that could help ease that tax burden for certain homeowners.

The May 7 Constitutional Amendment Election will focus on the two propositions, as well as other potential local elections. 

For Copperas Cove voters, the only two items on the May 7 ballot are the two propositions.

Proposition 1 reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”

State law currently says that property taxes paid to public schools freeze for homeowners the year they turn 65 or become disabled.

When Texas legislators passed legislation in 2019 (Senate Bill 2) that required voter approval to raise the property tax revenue collected by 3.5 percent compared to the previous year, many entities, including school districts, ended up changing their tax rate in order to comply. However, the people with frozen rates were left out and their tax rates remained the same.

By voting for this proposition, voters are choosing to approve the amendment which will allow for the reduction of the amount of property taxes that elderly or disabled homeowners pay towards public school taxes, effectively bringing their tax rate down to whichever rate was approved in 2019.

This would take effect in 2023, and affected homeowners could see their tax bill drop each year, if the tax rates drop below that voter-approval rate. This caps the rates for the disabled and 65 or older homeowners at the current level though, meaning that they cannot be higher than the rate at which they were frozen.

Another property tax exemptions on the ballot concerns the Residential Homestead Exemption, which reduces the amount of a home’s value that can be taxed for qualifying homeowners.

Copperas Cove is one of the only cities in the area that offers a local homestead exemption for an amount up to 20 percent of the property’s value but not less than $5,000.

Salado and Temple are the only cities in Bell County to offer a similar exemption. Other nearby entities that offer a local homestead exemption option include Austin, Cedar Park, Marble Falls and Waco.

Proposition 2 reads: “the constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.”

If voters approve this proposition, the deduction amount available for homeowners who claim the homestead exemption increases from $25,000 to $40,000. This means that a home valued at $300,000 would pay taxes for $260,000.

If voters approve these propositions, the state lawmakers have said that the state will be reimbursing the school districts for the lost property tax revenue, so schools are not likely to lose funding, at least permanently.

Proposition 1 would cost more than $744 million from 2024 to 2026, and Proposition 2 would cost $1.6 billion from 2023 to 2026, according to a fiscal note from the Legislative Budget Board. State legislators passed Proposition 2 last fall, and the bill’s author, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, laid out a plan to use $4.4 billion in surplus funds to pay for the initial costs of this action.

Early voting began Monday, April 25 and continues through May 3.  Early voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 25 to April 29 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 2 and May 3. Early voting locations include:

  • Copperas Cove Early Voting Center- 508 B Cove Terrace
  • Gatesville Annex- 801 E. Leon St
  • Evant ISD- 339 Memory Ln

Election Day is Saturday, May 7. Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voting locations include:

  • Copperas Cove Civic Center- 1206 W Ave B
  • Copperas Cove Early Voting Center -508 B Cove Terrace
  • Evant City Hall - 598 E Hwy 84
  • Oglesby Community Center- 118 Main St
  • Gatesville Annex- 801 E. Leon St

Registered voters will need to bring one of seven types of photo identification: a Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), a Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS, a Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS, a Texas Handgun License issued by DPS, a United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph, a United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph, or a United States Passport (book or card).

 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207