Next month, voters will have the opportunity to change the Texas Constitution. Two propositions, approved by the state Legislature, will appear on Texas ballots this year. The atypical timing is due to legislative approval occurring during two separate special sessions last fall. Constitutional amendments that receive a simple majority vote will be adopted.
Proposition order as they appear on the ballot is determined by a random draw, this year by Deputy Secretary of State John Scott. Election day is May 7, 2022. You can find information and resources about where to go to vote in VoteTexas.gov.
Some voters are confused about what these propositions mean as the explanatory statements provided by the Secretary of State’s office restate the text of the prop.
Here’s what you should know about the proposed constitutional amendments before heading to your polling place this May:
Proposition 1 (SJR 2)
What it says: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”
What it means: This amendment would reduce the homestead tax ceiling or freeze of school property taxes for age 65 or older or disabled homeowners, who already qualify for $35,000 in exemptions, by applying the maximum school maintenance and operations (M&O) property tax rate reductions that other homeowners received in 2019 from HB 3 as passed by the 86th Legislature. According to the office of Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Chairman of the Senate Property Tax Committee, there are 1.8 million over 65 exemptions and 180,000 disabled exemptions, all of whom could see a $110 reduction in their school property tax bill and $124 reduction in the second year. This amendment will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2023, if it passes.
Proposition 2 (SJR 2)
What it says: “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.”
What it means: The amendment would increase the homestead exemption that homeowners can claim for school property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. According to the office of Sen. Bettencourt, there are on average 5.67 million homesteads in Texas, who could see a $175-$176 savings on their school property tax bill based on the current state average of property tax rates.