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Texan Homeowners’ Relief: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Push for Property Tax Elimination

In a bold move aimed at further easing the burden on Texas homeowners, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has charged state senators with exploring the feasibility of completely eradicating property taxes. This directive follows the approval of $18 billion in property tax cuts by Texas lawmakers eight months ago, highlighting Patrick’s commitment to ongoing tax reform efforts.

With an eye on the upcoming legislative session in January, Patrick, who holds considerable influence over the Senate’s agenda, has outlined a comprehensive 57-item agenda for senators to address. Among the key priorities are housing affordability, healthcare accessibility, and increased oversight on Delta 8 and 9 hemp products.

According to Patrick, the Senate aims to hit the ground running in January 2025, with a focus on advancing the conservative agenda favored by the majority of Texans. This includes initiatives such as school choice, sustained property tax relief, and bolstering the state’s power grid resilience.

Key Points to Note

Patrick has tasked the Senate Finance Committee with evaluating strategies to further reduce property taxes, including exploring the potential costs associated with eliminating school maintenance and operations taxes, all school district property taxes, or all property taxes altogether.

Unlike many states, Texas does not levy property taxes directly; instead, homeowners are taxed by various local entities such as cities, counties, hospital districts, and school districts.

The lieutenant governor has urged senators to carefully consider the financial implications of such tax cuts, including identifying alternative revenue sources and assessing potential impacts on state emergency response capabilities.

Patrick has also instructed the Local Government Committee to explore avenues for increasing voter involvement in setting tax rates and to examine the dissolution of certain taxing entities, such as tax increase reinvestment zones.

Reflecting on Past Efforts

Last year’s efforts to reach consensus on property tax relief were marked by extensive debate between the House and Senate. Patrick advocated for increased property tax exemptions, while Gov. Greg Abbott championed reducing school district taxes through additional state funding—a compromise that ultimately prevailed.

Despite optimism from Abbott about the prospect of eliminating school property taxes, Patrick remains skeptical, citing the challenges of financing such a move without substantial increases in sales tax or utilization of existing sales tax revenue.

Looking Ahead

In addition to property tax reform, senators have been tasked with examining various policy areas, including standardized testing in K-12 education, the future of Texas’ electric grid, and the state’s regulatory framework for artificial intelligence.

Committees are expected to deliver reports outlining their findings and policy recommendations by December 1, providing crucial insights for future legislative action.