Tax Bill Creates Questions For Property Owners

Governor Rick Perry is adamant the new tax bill over the next three years will give the average homeowner a $2,000 break in property taxes. "It will make the dream of home ownership a reality," said the governor during a signing earlier this week in Tyler. Critics claim the average Texas homeowner will see only a $600 savings. What can property owners do with such conflicting interpretations. Realtor Ed Pool said, "I'm definitely taking a wait and see attitude. It will be nice. We need a break from it, but at this point I'm going to see how it all falls out."

There are so many what if's. Appraisal notices are in Nacogdoches County mailboxes. Valuations are significantly higher which could offset any tax breaks. Perry says the tax bill takes that into consideration by requiring reimbursements if home values yield more that authorized revenue.   Perry explained, "From now on when property value goes up the biggest winner will be the owner of that home and not just the entity that taxes it."

And then there's the issue of school districts dropping high homestead exemptions. They're offered in less than a third of Texas school districts, but are available throughout Nacogdoches County. Nacogdoches County Chief Appraiser Gary Woods said, "Homeowners will see an increase this year in taxes if they remove it completely. However next year the majority of homeowners once it's removed that rate is going to drop from $1.56 to $1.19. They will see a decrease in taxes next year."

All this speculation makes it difficult to even know how much to set aside for taxes.   There's a guessing game in Pool's home closures. "They're escrowing taxes based on the 2005 estimates because it's pretty much unknown." City, county and special district property taxes are not restricted by the new tax bill. How much those taxes go up also remains unclear. Most taxing entities enter budget talks this summer.   For some prospective home buyers taxes can actually prevent their ability to have the American dream of home ownership.