“We’re going to try this one more time,” Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said during a July 12 meeting of the Texas Senate Finance Committee.

Later that morning, the Texas Senate unanimously approved two bills from a $18 billion property tax relief plan. The House is expected to vote on the package July 13 before sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who said he would sign it.

The long-awaited agreement came after months of negotiations between Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan.

The tax relief package includes three measures: Senate Bill 2, SB 3 and House Joint Resolution 2. If all three bills are signed into law, voters will have the opportunity to approve the tax cuts in November.

Here’s what each piece of legislation would do.

SB 2, by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
  • Raise the statewide homestead exemption—the portion of a home’s value that cannot be taxed—from $40,000 to $100,000
  • Reduce the property taxes homeowners pay to school districts by nearly 24%
  • Prevent the taxable value of other residential and commercial property worth $5 million or less from increasing by more than 20% each year
The owner of an average home, which is worth around $331,000, would save at least $2,500 on their next two tax bills, Bettencourt said. Seniors and people with disabilities, who receive a higher exemption, would save nearly $3,000.

Texans whose homes are worth $100,000 or less would not pay any property taxes to school districts under SB 2. According to the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, the average home value is less than $100,000 in 397 of the state’s 1,017 school districts. This would largely impact homeowners in rural areas.

Bettencourt said renters should also see relief under his proposal.

“The fact that we’re providing record property tax relief for [rental property owners] means that their costs are lower, and that’s going to be passed on much more likely in a declining rental market,” Bettencourt said.

During a House committee hearing on July 11, Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson, said if landlords don’t pass the savings along to their tenants, “you can go and rent another house.”

SB 3, by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
  • Eliminate the state franchise tax for businesses that make less than $2.47 million per year
  • Save businesses time by removing the requirement that exempt businesses submit a “no tax due” form
Roughly 67,000 small and midsize businesses would no longer have to pay the franchise tax, Bettencourt said. Collectively, SB 3 would save these business owners about $300,000 per year.

HJR 2, by Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe

This resolution would amend the Texas Constitution to increase the homestead exemption and implement the 20% appraisal cap for certain types of property. Additionally, state funds used to pay for property tax relief would not count against the state’s constitutional spending limit.

Before these changes go into effect, the constitutional amendment must be approved by Texas voters during the Nov. 7 election.