Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
HB 1513, if passed, would modify the Tax Code (Section 23.51(2)) by expanding the range of tract size for open space land for ad valorem tax purposes. Currently land between five and fifty acres may be used for “agricultural use”. HB 1513 would expand this to land between two and fifty acres.
“Agricultural use” has the following technical definition in code: “cultivating the soil, producing crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers; floriculture, viticulture, and horticulture; raising or keeping livestock; raising or keeping exotic animals for the production of human food or of fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; planting cover crops or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in a governmental program, provided the land is not used for residential purposes or a purpose inconsistent with agricultural use; and planting cover crops or leaving land idle in conjunction with normal crop or livestock rotation procedure” (Section 23.51).
By expanding the agricultural tax exemption, this bill would expand the preferential treatment of a certain type of property owners to the exclusion of other types of property owners. Additionally, this would increase the tax burden on non-exempt landowners and make it less likely that broad-based property tax relief may be realized for all land owners in the future. For that reason we oppose this legislation.