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Houston City Council Lowers Property Tax Rate Despite Efforts From Mayor Turner

Houston Other

Houston City Council approved a measure Wednesday to lower the property tax rate to abide by the city's revenue cap. 

Mayor Sylvester Turner initially proposed a roughly 15% property tax increase on Houston taxpayers, which he revised down after opposition from taxpayers. Turner withdrew the proposal after receiving $50M from Gov. Greg Abbott to aid in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner revised his plan, looking to approve the same property tax rate as last year, which would still trigger Houston's revenue cap. 

According to City Controller Chris Brown, the city would need to cut the 2018 property tax rate by about one-fifth of one cent to comply with the revenue cap. The difference is roughly $7 next year for the average Houston homeowner, but more for commercial owners. 

The mayor’s property tax increase proposal comes just days before voters head to the polls to vote on roughly $1.5B in proposed bonds in the City of Houston. The city has yet to ask for disaster reappraisal. Other taxing entities, such as Katy ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, have all triggered disaster reappraisal.

Without the reappraisal, the average property tax bill will increase 5.5%, according to Texas state Sen. Paul Bettencourt. 

Houston's property tax revenue cap has been a source of conflict since it was passed 13 years ago. With bills from Hurricane Harvey mounting, the debate will rage on. 

CORRECTION OCT. 20, 11:00 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story incorrectly labeled the dollar amount of the City's proposed bonds and has been fixed.