City Council Passes San Antonio's First Homestead Tax Exemption

click to enlarge San Antonio homeowners have been squeezed by rising appraisal values. - SANFORD NOWLIN
Sanford Nowlin
San Antonio homeowners have been squeezed by rising appraisal values.
During a Monday evening special session, city council unanimously approved a homestead property tax exemption.

The exemption will shield .01% of a home's appraised value from the city’s portion of property taxes, shaving off a minimum of $5,000. The net result will be an estimated $28 savings on homeowners' annual tax bills.

The vote marked the first time San Antonio has offered a homestead exemption — something available in other big Texas cities. The exemption applies only to a resident's primary dwelling, not to rental properties or vacation homes.

Even though San Antonio hasn't hiked its property tax rate in years, homeowners have felt the pinch from quickly rising appraisal rates. The issue loomed big in recent citywide elections as challenger Greg Brockhouse accused incumbent Mayor Ron Nirenberg of ignoring complaints from residents about their rising tax bills.

Even though the newly passed exemption will shave around $6 million from the city's annual budget, Nirenberg signaled earlier Monday that he was prepared to support the exemption.

"Homeowners have been asking for property tax relief," he said in a statement to the Current. "I intend to provide it with no strings attached."

If cuts are necessary to pay for the tax break, Nirenberg said he would look for reductions that wouldn't cut into public safety or essential services.

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