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San Antonians can now take a larger exemption on their property taxes for homesteads, seniors, and disabilities

San Antonio City Hall.jpg
Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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San Antonio City Hall

If you own a home in San Antonio you can take a larger chunk of the value off your property taxes. The San Antonio City Council approved increasing its homestead, over-65 and disabled persons exemptions on Thursday.

Homeowners can take a 10% homestead exemption which is an increase from the previous 0.01%; there’s also a bump up on the over-65 and disabled persons exemptions. The current exemptions are $65,000 for seniors and $12,500 for disability but both have been increased to $85,000.

Property tax relief has been highly sought by homeowners as valuations across Bexar County and Texas have sharply increased over the last year. In some cases, the homestead exemption will reduce the city’s portion of the tax bill by about $10 for homes worth about $200,000 but potentially increased to a value of $230,000 over the last year in an example provided by the city.

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry, who has advocated for new property tax relief measures since taking the dais in 2017 cheered the move by council.

“I’m happy not for me but for our taxpayers, our homeowners folks out there that are paying taxes,” Perry said. “It's not our money, this is not our money, it's the taxpayers money out there, and they need help, they need relief and that’s what this is all about.”

District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez said increase in exceptions is a good start but it’s not enough to prevent displacement of residents in the near east side caused by rising property taxes,

“We know they’re gonna continue to rise, we know that this is gonna be a small chunk of their bill, and a small chunk of relief,” he said. “We need to do more to protect the fabric or neighborhoods and ensure that older residents can age in place and families can keep their biggest opportunity to build generational wealth.”
The move was also a necessity for the city as a means of preventing a rollback election on its tax rate. A state law known as Senate Bill 2 requires that cities with year-over-year property tax revenue over 3.5% must roll back the tax rate or an automatic election is triggered.

With all three exemptions, the city is expected to forego about $94 million in property tax revenue.

The tax rate itself will be adjusted downward as well but the final amount is unknown. It could be a reduction of 1.3 cents. The city council will approve a final tax rate alongside its 2023 budget in mid-September

The city makes up about 22% of the total tax bill for a San Antonio property owner. While the city is only a portion of that equation, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg stressed the importance of working with the other taxing entities to reduce the overall tax burden.

“I wish we could do more, obviously, but I will take cooperation with the other tax and jurisdictions and most significantly with the state but the city council has committed to doing its part,” Nirenberg said.

All of the city’s exemptions take effect on tax bills that will go out in October.

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