The 88th Texas Legislature opened on January 10, 2023, with over 1,600 bills already filed. In Texas, legislators meet every other year in odd-numbered years from January to May unless the Governor calls a subsequent special session(s). In 2021, there were three special sessions, but that is not the norm. From property taxes, election law, school safety, flood resiliency to budgeting there are a lot of issues in-store for this Texas’s 88th Legislative session that impact REALTORS®️.

Despite the nation fighting a pandemic and an economic downturn, Texas is experiencing one of the most significant budget surpluses in its history at a jaw-dropping amount of $33 billion. If you watch the news, you know deciding what to do with it is up for a heated debate. Governor Greg Abbott would like to spend a portion of the surplus to relieve property taxes, while others object, claiming the funds should not be used for one-time relief and want legislators to focus on issues like fixing the power grid to prevent another energy crisis that happened during Winter Storm Uri in 2021.

Criminal justice reform, a leading issue across Texas and the country, was a top priority for Speaker of the House Dade Phelan in 2021 and now again in 2023. He also addressed concerns regarding housing appraisal reform, Speaker Phelan stated, “Time and time again, we’ve seen the legislature provide some form of property tax relief. But to make it last, we must do something about runaway appraisals because taxpayers deserve better.” Housing appraisal issues directly impact the high property tax rates homeowners are facing in Texas.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has also announced his plans for Texas’ high property tax in this session. In 2021, SB 1 changed the law to allow homestead exemptions to increase from $25,000 to $40,000, which has been reflected in most of the Greater Houston area’s municipalities. This session, Lt. Governor Patrick has prioritized raising the exemption to $60,000 or $70,000 and hopes it will eventually reach $100,000. Lt. Governor Patrick believes there is a need more than homestead exemptions, stating lawmakers need to create a “robust property tax cut for everyone in this state.” Finding a permanent solution to high property taxes has been an ongoing issue important to real estate and homeowners.

The HAR Governmental Affairs and Advocacy Department is working with Texas REALTORS® to monitor bills and keep REALTORS® informed on legislation that impacts real estate issues. This year REALTOR® Day at the Capitol will be in person on Wednesday, March 22 in Austin. Save the Date and Join Us!