Property tax relief on May 7 ballot should get voters’ support

Austin American-Statesman

Texas homeowners worried about their tax bills as their property values skyrocket could get some relief if voters approve two state constitutional amendments on May 7.

For some homeowners, including many in Austin, however, modest savings will likely be negated or dwarfed by tax bills expected to climb due to soaring property values. Still, the measures would provide at least some relief without hurting state public education budgets, which is why we recommend voters approve Propositions 1 and 2. Early voting starts Monday, April 25, and ends on May 3.

Property taxes in Texas — the sixth-highest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation — pay for schools, roads, police, fire protection and many other services. Texas has no state property tax or income tax.

While we support the propositions, neither would fix our state’s problematic approach to paying for public education, which relies heavily on taxes levied on residential home values, creating an unfair burden on homeowners. To truly alleviate the tax burden on homeowners, state lawmakers should study other potential sources of revenue, including closing corporate tax loopholes, raising taxes on alcoholic beverages and applying the sales tax to some services that are currently exempt, such as legal services, marketing research and architectural services.

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