'We're reversing Robin Hood,' Tax relief for millions of Texans on the ballot

Call it a double-edged sword: the appraised value of homes in the Lone Star State has simply exploded.

While that's good for a family's net worth, it also triggers an immediate and often painful increase in property tax.

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On May 7th Texas voters have the opportunity to authorize "relief" by approving Proposition 2, a  constitutional amendment increasing the so-called "homestead exemption" for taxes paid to public schools from $25,000 to $40,000.

The net effect - is an average of $175 in annual savings per household.

Senator Paul Bettencourt authored the tax cut proposal and attracted unanimous bipartisan support in the legislature.

"We are reversing Robin Hood. It is something we should have done long ago," said Bettencourt. "This is the public basically voting to do what they can to keep people in their home."

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If approved, the state would automatically reimburse local Texas school districts $1.6 billion in lost revenue and that is the biggest reason zero organized opposition has emerged to challenge the measure, including the most progressive Democrats.

"When you are looking at these lower-income folks or people on a fixed income this relief is going to impact their budget the most," said Charles Blain, founder of Urban Reform.

A second constitutional amendment, Prop 1 specifically benefits two of the state's most vulnerable populations: the disabled and senior citizens.

With an estimated benefit of $744 million, Bettencourt says Prop 1 will gradually lower school property taxes paid by seniors and the disabled, year after year.

"The great news is that over 65 and disabled homeowners will actually see less of a tax bill each year starting in 2023," said Bettencourt. "Of course, we can afford it because we've had record collections and because fortunately, I come from a school that if you have excess collections, give part of it back to the taxpayers and that's exactly what we are doing."

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Early voting continues through May 3rd.