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“The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for public school purposes on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect any reduction in the rate of those taxes for the 2006 and 2007 tax years.”


Proposition 1, supported by AARP, is supposed to provide tax relief for elderly and disabled homeowners.

During the school-finance special session of the 79th Texas Legislature, legislation was passed that ultimately resulted in the lowering of school-district tax rates, meaning the average homeowner would, in theory, pay less school-district taxes every year, counteracting increasing property valuations and school-district tax rates.

The hiccough in this for the elderly (and disabled) was they didn’t really see any reduction because their taxes were already frozen.

If voters adopt Prop 1, current rates for seniors and the disabled would essentially be thawed out, lowered, and then re-frozen at the new, reduced rates. As with any property-tax reduction, the rare Prop 1 opponent argues, seniors and the disabled with more expensive properties will benefit from the reduction more than others. Opponents add that this fixed-income group was already receiving a good-sized tax break.

The proposition’s fiscal impact is estimated to cost the state $750 million, says the Legislative Budget Board, because the state picks up the tab for the rate reduction. The Texas Constitution mandates that the Legislature shield school districts from revenue loss as a result of such a property-tax reduction.

— Vince Leibowitz

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