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Summary: HJR 138 would allow local governments to adopt a local option homestead exemption expressed in a dollar-amount as an alternative to the percentage-based homestead exemption already permitted. HJR 138 states that a governing body may exempt a flat dollar amount of the market value of the residence of a married or unmarried adult, including an adult that lives alone, and that the amount of the flat dollar exemption may not be less than $5,000. HJR 138 also forbids the legislature from putting forth formulas that would protect school districts from revenue loss, and HJR 138’s provision would begin in 2014 and end 2015.
HJR 138’s committee analysis suggests that “dollar-amount exemptions offer greater benefits to middle-income households than those from percentage-based exemptions and allow local governments to more easily compute revenue lost to the exemption.” HJR 138 provides a modest tax exemption to these property owners, effectively limiting the amount of revenue available to the government and protecting the property rights of these owners. We support HJR 138.