Texans are heading to the polls on May 7 to decide two constitutional amendments. The deadline to register to vote in the election is April 7.
The Texas State Legislature referred two measures to statewide ballots during the second and third special legislative sessions of 2021. The ballot measures were the first referred to an even-numbered year ballot since 2014.
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 elderly or disabled residents to reflect any tax rate reduction enacted by law from the preceding tax year. In 2019, the Texas State Legislature passed House Bill 3, which provided school maintenance and operations tax rate changes. However, the rate reduction did not apply to the homesteads of elderly or disabled residents. The implementing legislation, Senate Bill 12, which would extend the 2019 reduction, was also passed during the second special legislative session in 2021. Proposition 1 and SB 12 were modeled after a 2007 constitutional amendment and 2006 property tax reduction.
Proposition 2 would increase the homestead exemption for school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. The increased exemption would take effect on January 1, 2022, and applies only to a tax year beginning on or after that date. The Legislative Budget Board estimated that the increase would cost $355 million in fiscal year 2023. Voters last increased the exemption in 2015 with the passage of Proposition 1, which increased it from $15,000 to $25,000.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R), the sponsor of the amendments, said, “Property tax relief has been one of my top priorities since I was elected to the Texas Senate in 2014. These bills will provide over $600 million in relief per biennium to homeowners for first year homestead exemptions and those over 65 or disabled freeze value.”
To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a two-thirds vote is required in both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. Both amendments exceeded the supermajority requirement by at least 10%.
During the 2021 second and third special legislative sessions, 72 constitutional amendments were filed in the Texas State Legislature for the 2022 ballot. Democrats filed 28 (38.9%) of the constitutional amendments, and Republicans filed 44 (61.1%) of the constitutional amendments.
Ballotpedia is also covering local ballot measures on May 7 for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. in Texas, which includes Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.