Rep. Raymond Proposes Big Texas Property Tax Cut

Taxpayers could soon get some relief if a measure brought forward by one of Laredo’s state leaders is passed in the Texas capitol and then by voters.

Texas State Rep. Richard Pena Raymond called on the Texas Legislature to dedicate $20 billion of the state’s projected surplus to property assistance for homeowners during a press conference Tuesday morning at the Student Activity Complex. The state representative filed the bill, HJR44 and HB 610, Monday at the state Capitol in Austin.

“This is the largest tax cut proposal in state history, as it is a tax cut of more than $20 billion for school residence owners for school taxes,” Raymond said. “When you add up the surplus that we are going to have for our budget, including the rainy day fund, it will be between $40 billion and $45 billion. I have long advocated for property tax relief and have passed several bills that have been helpful, but I felt we had to make a statement. I believe we will pass a property tax reduction for school property taxes.

Raymond is the sixth-senior member of the Texas House and chairman of the House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee.

He clarified that for anyone whose home is worth less than $360,000, they will be impacted by this measure. He says that’s a good number that will help a lot of people, because many homes in Texas — including his — aren’t worth more than that amount, which should lead to a lot of property tax savings.

“At least we can get those taxes reduced, because you won’t be taxed on the first $360,000 worth of your home – so in other words, if your home is worth less than $360,000, then you won’t be paying any school property tax,” Raymond said. “It has to be meaningful because there are a lot of people struggling with everything that’s going on with the economy, and I think that’s a break that they need. It will also help them invest more in their homes. If it goes as I wrote, for at least a year most people won’t have to pay school property taxes.

Raymond thinks the property tax cut makes sense because it won’t in any way affect schools or parent programs that the state must fund. It also considers tax cuts within the parameters it considers.

He does not see this policy affecting schools negatively.

“It will have no negative impact on schools,” Raymond said. “In fact I would say it would have a positive impact because it would bring attention to us in the legislature to make it a priority for us to fund schools, and if that passes then I think what you will see now is that in two years, it could become a priority for the State to invest more public money in our schools. In the long term, it could have a more positive impact on the state by putting in more money.

For Raymond, this is important because inflation in particular has made finances much more of a concern for many at the moment, as people don’t have extra money to spend.

“Drove yesterday from Austin and through San Antonio and I drove across and had a burger and had fries and a drink and dessert and it was 12.50 $,” Raymond said. “And, I go like ‘man, this is high,’ and you see it everywhere. People need a break. It’s a big break for the Texans, and it’s their money. It’s people’s money and we should give it back to them, and it’s a meaningful way to give it back to them.

Raymond also said he saw no reason his Republican counterparts in the capital would oppose the measure.

“I think everyone is going to be in favor of doing it,” Raymond said. “Where we might have to negotiate is how they want to get to $20 billion, but I think some of them will. We have to get two-thirds of the legislature are voting for it, but that’s why I really want to push in the press, because once the public starts to find out about these things, they’ll start expressing support or opposition to it.

Raymond says he will seek broad support from members of both parties and both levels of government to make this measure a reality.

“No more chatter. It’s time for us to get to work for families in Texas,” Raymond said. “This is not a partisan issue – it is a quality of life, economic relief and property tax proposal that is fully funded with $20 billion remaining to expand and improve other functions of the State.”

If the bill passes, Raymond says voters will eventually have to approve the measure for it to become law. However, just as he says he hopes his fellow Republicans will support the measure, he also knows that people will find this tax cut to be of great benefit to them.

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