Texas

Montgomery County Commissioners Endorse Property Tax Relief Bill

SB2 has faced stiff opposition from local governments. Senator Paul Bettencourt, the bill’s author, hopes the endorsement from Texas’ 11th largest county will help sway the top ten.

Bettencourt et al
From left to right: State Sen. Brandon Creighton, State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner James Noack, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Montgomery County Commissioners Court has unanimously endorsed a state bill to limit the growth of property taxes. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Senator Paul Bettencourt, the bill’s author, announced the news at Bettencourt’s Houston office.

The bill (SB 2) would require local governments to get voter approval to raise property taxes by more than 4 percent. The current cap is 8 percent. The senator says it’s significant that one of the state’s largest counties is on board with the effort.

“The 11th-largest county is basically setting the path for the top ten counties to recognize that we need property tax relief,” Bettencourt says. “We need it now.”

Montgomery County is effectively breaking ranks with the Texas Association of Counties, which has come out against the bill. The group says SB 2 could starve local governments of the funds they need to provide critical services, such as law enforcement and flood control.

There’s also a dispute about the math supporting the bill. According to a study prepared by Senator Bettencourt’s select committee, property tax bills are growing two-and-a-half times faster than household income. The Texas Association of Counties and The Dallas Morning News say the study relies on misleading statistics. Bettencourt says it’s the critics who are using “faulty” data.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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