Tarrant County leaders approved tax breaks for county homeowners Tuesday, but they don’t know where they will make up the difference in the county’s overall budget.
County commissioners unanimously approved a 10% homestead exemption for county residents during their Tuesday meeting. They voted 3-2 to give a maximum 10% exemption to the hospital district.
Commissioners Roy Charles Brooks and Alisa Simmons voted against the hospital district exemption.
A resident with a home appraised at $300,000 will save around $67 on their tax bill with a 10% exemption. They will save an additional $67 with a 10% exemption in the hospital district.
All school districts in Texas have a state-mandated exemption on $40,000 of a home’s appraised value.
The homestead exemption will lead to a $28 million to $30 million shortfall in the county’s overall revenue. The item appeared on the agenda Tuesday because the county has to notify the state and Tarrant Appraisal District about possible exemptions before July 1.
County judge Tim O’Hare said that while the savings looked small right now, they would grow with home appraisals if they follow the current trend. Property values in Tarrant County could grow between 10% and 20% this year.
Commissioner Manny Ramirez told the court that Tarrant County has historically done a good job of being fiscally responsible and keeping the tax rate low, but he still thinks the state could provide more relief for the schools and cities.
“We have to be champions everywhere, not just in this court room,” Ramirez said.
The county commissioners’ move comes as Gov. Greg Abbott calls for a special session on property tax relief. But state leaders all have different ideas for how to deliver those breaks.
A property tax plan passed by the House would reduce school property taxes by 16 cents, which would save a resident in the Fort Worth school district with a home appraised at $350,000 around $485 a year.
Meanwhile, the Senate wants to lower school property taxes and increase the state’s $40,000 homestead exemption. Texas residents older than 65 can qualify for an additional $10,000.
If the Senate bill became law, homeowners would save an additional 10 cents and the homestead exemption would increase to $100,000. It would save someone with a $350,000 home in the Fort Worth school district $1,019.
The bill would go to the voters and appear on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment.