Property Appraisal Caps Unlikely to Pass in Texas

Critics of a proposal to limit property value increases to reduce homeowners’ property tax burden say the measure would destabilize the housing market and cause cities to raise other taxes to compensate.

1 minute read

February 8, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Texas Capitol Building

The Texas State Capitol dome in Austin, Texas. | RoschetzkyProductions / Shutterstock

Lawmakers and tax experts alike are rejecting proposals to cap year-over-year increases in appraised home values, and hence property taxes, for Texas homeowners, calling it a Band-Aid that simply shifts the tax burden to other property owners and distorts the real estate market, reports Jeremy Wallace in the Houston Chronicle.

“Though some Texas counties saw single-family home values rise 20 percent or more on average in 2022 (in Harris County, it was 21 percent; in Bexar County it was a whopping 28 percent), the experts see appraisal caps as a stopgap that ultimately won't drive tax bills down.” According to experts, some renters and business owners could see higher tax bills, while the wealthiest homeowners would benefit the most from appraisal caps. Currently, while appraisals are not capped, property taxes can only increase by 10 percent every year. 

Appraisal caps are one of several recent proposed measures aimed at reducing taxes for homeowners in the state. Two state bills passed in 2019 limited school tax increases and overall tax growth without voter approval, and Governor Greg Abbott “promised to use at least $13 billion of the budget surplus for ‘historic’ property tax relief.”

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