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Texas House passes bill to abolish bulk of school property taxes

SAN ANTONIO (Texas News Radio) — The Texas House passed a bill that would abolish school district maintenance and operations property taxes by 2022.

State Rep. Andrew Murr of Junction said these taxes account for more than 50 percent of all property taxes.  The measure would also end the “Robin Hood” process that takes money from wealthier school districts to pay for the education of poorer districts.

It passed the House by a 95 to 46 vote.

“Too often, our elected officials pay lip service to the idea of property tax relief without offering any meaningful solutions,” Murr said after the vote.  ” This vote takes direct aim at the problem of skyrocketing property tax bills.  I commend Speaker Bonnen and the 95 other members, both Democrats and Republicans, who stood up for property owners today.  And I implore the Texas Senate to take up and pass this legislation as well.”

House Bill 297 would required lawmakers to find some other way to raise funds to replace the taxes.  One possibility is a consumption tax.  Murr said such a change would spread the cost of education over a broader tax base to reduce the financial burden on property owners and continue to provide public education.

“While Texas is generally views as a low-tax state, the dirty little secret is that our property tax rates are among the highest in the nation.  In fact, it’s only places like New Jersey, Illinois and Connecticut who have higher rates than ours.  Slashing the property tax will provide tangible incentives for out-of-state businesses to relocate to Texas and for existing businesses to expand and create new jobs,” Murr stated.  “It will give families greater opportunities for home ownership, while also protecting existing homeowners, particularly those on fixed-incomes, from skyrocketing appraisals and crippling tax bills.”

House Bill 297 now moves on to the state Senate for a vote before it would go to the governor for his signature.

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