HB 2 (Property Tax Relief) Testimony

Texas School Coalition Executive Director Christy Rome provided testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee on March 13, 2023.

On behalf of the Texas School Coalition on House Bill 2, thank you for your commitment to property tax relief.  Reducing school property taxes by increasing state funding for schools reduces the burden of recapture on taxpayers.  We strongly support efforts to reduce recapture, and this bill would cause a meaningful reduction in recapture.

Still, we are testifying on the bill today because we want to make sure the right balance is struck between controlling property taxes and giving schools the resources they need to educate kids — now and in the future.

We, like you, would like to see lower property taxes.  However, we also want to ensure that schools have the resources they need to provide the high-quality education that every Texas student deserves.  And while the state is enjoying a historic surplus right now, Texas does not have unlimited resources to spend on property-tax relief. The sheer cost of the property-tax relief considered in this bill — now and in the future — will inevitably crowd out dollars that could be invested in classrooms, teacher salaries, and school safety. State dollars that are spent to hold down property taxes do not reach classrooms.

Additionally, there are other policy implications in this bill that we are still carefully considering, and we hope you are as well.  Appraisal caps as proposed in HB 2 that apply to all real property would have a significant impact on I&S rates required to pay down the debt that voters have already approved. Voters made these investments in their local schools with the understanding that values would continue to grow.  This change will put more of the burden on residential taxpayers.  It also significantly diminishes bond capacity, and that could be particularly challenging in fast-growing areas or schools that need to make facility updates and improvements related to safety and security.

Thank you for your time and attention on this important issue.


Download Key Messages on HB 2

  • We are grateful for the significant reduction in recapture that would result from the House plan.
  • This bill reduces the burden on homeowners and shifts more of the funding responsibility to the state.
  • We are deeply concerned, however, that the bill does not provide new dollars for classrooms. It simply shifts billions of dollars in local funding to state funding.
  • We ask that you make certain that there are sufficient resources remaining, after making this substantial investment in tax relief, to provide meaningful investments in public education both this session and in the future when economic times may not be as positive.
  • The tighter cap on value growth for homes and businesses will make it difficult to raise the revenue needed for bond elections without going higher on the debt services tax rate. This will cause an increase in tax rates, which is contradictory to the intent of property-tax relief in the first place.