early voting

Early Voting Ends Tuesday; Two Property Tax Props on May 7 Ballot

Election Day is Saturday, May 7 for local elections, propositions

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The last day of early voting ahead of the May 7 uniform election is Tuesday, May 3.

The May 7 uniform election is mostly made up of local city council and school board races, though there are two important amendments to the state constitution (details below) up for consideration on the ballot that would lower property taxes that fund public schools.

This comes at a time when assessments are in, and some homeowners are very concerned about what they are paying.

“I understand that we need to pay to some portion of it, but right now, they are just way too high,” said Gloria Leyva, a property owner in Dallas County.

Should voters pass both propositions 1 and 2, State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, (R-Houston), who authored the propositions, said school districts and local taxpayers won't be affected by the change in revenue.

“The state of Texas is going to come out of pocket to pay these exemption changes.  So, that means that we are going to use our billions to pay for these increased exemption benefits,” Bettencourt said.

Dallas County homeowner Greg Pillsbury told NBC 5 he plans to vote for them. They were passed by the legislature with bipartisan support.

“We should -- especially during this particular time -- we should have relief from taxes. Additional taxes,” Pillsbury said.

NBC 5's Julie Fine takes a look at two propositions about property taxes on the ballot that could bring relief to Texas property owners facing sticker shock.

TEXAS STATE PROPOSITION 1

If passed, Proposition 1 would amend the state constitution to authorize the state legislature to reduce the property tax limit for school maintenance and operations taxes imposed on the homesteads of disabled residents or those over the age of 65.

The amount paid to public schools is typically the largest obligation on a property tax bill. The state would make up the difference and, according to the Legislative Budget Board, the reduction of those property taxes is estimated to cost $744 million from 2024 to 2026.

The annual savings for the estimated 2 million exemption holders would be $109 in 2024 and $124 in 2025, though actual savings will vary due to actual property value.

TEXAS STATE PROPOSITION 2

In passed, Proposition 2 would raise the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes. According to calculations released by the state, the amendment is expected to save 5.67 million homeowners about $175 annually.

"If passed, both of these propositions will cut independent school district property tax bills by increasing homeowner exemptions that will save money for all 5.67 million homesteads in the state of Texas," added Bettencourt. "All homeowners with homesteads will save money on their property tax bills. Over 65 homeowners will see their freeze values actually decline, and lifetime savings from both bills in the many thousands."

NBC 5 spoke to the President of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, Dale Craymer.

“There is no question that property taxes in Texas are very high," said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. "We are about the 12th highest state for homeowners. We are about the seventh highest for businesses.  This is a way of making homeownership more affordable, of providing some relief to homeowners, but it doesn’t do anything on the business side or on the renter's side."

REMEMBER CHANGES MADE TO TEXAS VOTING BY MAIL

This is the second election since new voting laws were passed in Texas. During the March 1 primary, there was some confusion among those who voted by mail and many ballots were rejected when new fields intended to help ensure voter integrity were either left blank or filled out incorrectly, resulting in rejected ballots.

If you are planning to vote by mail-in ballot, your application must be received by Tuesday, April 26.

TEXAS EARLY VOTING HOURS

For larger counties, early voting locations are open for nine hours the first week, 12 hours on Saturday, and six hours on Sunday. Then in week two of early voting, polling locations are open 12 hours each day. For the May 7 election, early voting is only open for two days (Monday and Tuesday) in the second week. Specific hours are set by the counties.

During early voting, voters can cast their ballot at any polling location in their county.

IMPORTANT ELECTION DATES

  • April 25 -- Last day to register to vote in primary runoffs.
  • April 25 -- Early voting begins for May 7 uniform election.
  • April 26 -- Last day to apply for a ballot by mail for May 7 election.
  • May 3 -- Early voting ends for May 7 uniform election.
  • May 7 -- Uniform election
  • May 9 -- Mail-in ballots must be received by 5 p.m. if the envelope is postmarked by 7 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day.
  • May 13 -- The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot for the primary runoff (request received, not postmarked).
  • May 16 -- Early voting begins for the primary runoff.
  • May 20 -- Early voting ends for the primary runoff.
  • May 24 -- Primary runoffs. Mail-in ballots that are not postmarked must be received by 7 p.m.
  • May 25 -- Mail-in ballots must be received by 5 p.m. if the envelope is postmarked by 7 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day.
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