Senate Passes Tax Relief Bill That Cities Worry Will Jeopardize Local Safety and Services

AUSTIN - Texas homeowners would see lower property tax rates and local governments would be forced to seek voter approval for higher tax rates under a bill the Senate approved Tuesday."Texas taxpayers know the truth, property taxes are rising too fast," said the bill's author Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston. "Texas already has the fifth-highest property tax rate in the U.S."Bettencourt's measure, Senate bill 2 seeks to reduce property taxes by changing the so-called rollback rate, the maximum amount a city can raise taxes without triggering a public vote, from 8 percent to 5 percent. "This is a rollback bill to rollback the property tax rate to the levels we were using in 1979," said Bettencourt.Texas raised the rollback rate to 8 percent in 1981, when inflation had grown to nearly 13 percent. Now that inflation is back down in the single digits, Bettencourt argued the rollback rate should decrease, too.   Continue reading...

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