SAN ANTONIO An attempt by two North Side councilors to provide additional tax breaks for homeowners in San Antonio has not received the support needed to move forward this year.
During a fiscal year 2022 goal setting meeting on Friday, District 9 City Council John Courage and District 10 City Council Clayton Perry unsuccessfully pushed for the city’s homestead exemption to be increased from 0.01% to 5%. Homestead exemption reduces the taxable value of the home you live in, which in turn results in a lower tax burden.
However, the city residence exemption only applies to their share of the residents’ property tax and does not affect how much homeowners have to pay to other tax authorities such as school districts or the county.
And since there’s already a minimum of $ 5,000 current homestead time off, city officials say an increase to 5% would save the average San Antonio homeowner an additional $ 27 each year based on that average homestead value of $ 195,730.
On the other side of the balance sheet, the exemption would mean the city would have $ 7.3 million less revenue, according to an analysis by CFO Ben Gorzell. Of that amount, $ 2.8 million would flow out of the fund the city is using to repay its debt and would be enough to cover the debt capacity of $ 45 million to $ 50 million, he said.
The current 0.01 percent exemption for city homesteads has a minimum of $ 5,000, which means every home up to $ 500,000 receives the same tax break of $ 28 per year. Increasing it to 5 percent would save the average homeowner an additional $ 27. (City of San Antonio)
Several council members were hesitant to grant a so-called symbolic discharge in return for the withdrawal of this money from the budget.
“I really wanted to support it, but when you look at the impact it would have on our social services, on our ability to care for the working class. I don’t know if I can confidently support it, ”said Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, District 2 city councilor.
“The last time we did this, we received months of abuse at us for bringing home savings of $ 4.30 a month,” said Manny Pelaez, councilor for District 8, referring to the unanimous vote Council in 2019 to create the 0.01% exemption for homesteads, which saves most homeowners $ 28 a year. “It was an insult to a lot of people and because it wasn’t meaningful or effective. The same anger we saw flare up after CPS offered a $ 8 discount. “
Perry advocated the original homestead exemption, telling KSAT that a 5% homestead exemption is not the ultimate goal. It’s just another step on the way to achieving the maximum exemption allowed by state law – 20%.
“Can we afford this leap in a year? Absolutely not. I agree, ”said Perry. But why don’t you do this gradually over the years to reach up to 20%? “
District 10 city council believes the city should work to convince other tax authorities, such as school districts, to increase or introduce homestead exemptions for their portions of the property tax bill as well.
Then the amount and the combination of the exemptions would be “very, very significant for homeowners here,” he said.
In a statement following Friday’s budget meeting, Perry admitted a preliminary defeat, saying: “Unfortunately it has not received support from the majority of the Council and will not move forward as we hoped.”
However, he and Courage’s office said the two councilors will continue to push for land tax relief in the coming years.
Although the other three major cities in Texas have higher homestead allowances than San Antonio – 20% for Houston and Dallas and 10% for Austin – the others don’t have the senior citizen tax freeze that San Antonio uses for seniors.
Once San Antonio homeowners turn 65, the city’s share of their bill will not increase unless they make significant improvements to the home. Many other local tax authorities, including school districts and the county, also use such a tax freeze on their shares of property tax.
According to the figures presented by Gorzell on Friday, there is a tax freeze on 45% of the town’s homesteads.
The city also offers additional exemptions for the elderly and people with disabilities, though the Austin, Dallas, and Houston equivalents are higher.
Although San Antonio has fewer tax exemptions than the other three major cities in Texas, it is the only one that freezes homeowners’ tax bills once they turn 65. (City of San Antonio)
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