May 26, 2020
In response to a letter submitted by 11 members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, Governor Greg Abbott supported a decrease in Texas property taxes due to the economic challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Abbott encouraged local governments to use their power to adopt property tax rates that will not increase burdens on taxpayers: we
“must look for ways to ensure Texans can save some money to use it for other much-needed purposes at this critical time.”
The Governor acknowledged that the power and responsibility to increase or decrease Texas property tax rates belong solely to local governments. However, Abbott reminded the congressional representatives that the state of Texas reduced school property tax rates for the first time in 2019 and that these rates would continue to decline even if property values increased. Reducing property taxes would provide relief for property owners in challenging economic circumstances.
Abbott urged the Texas House of Representatives to take actions within their power and pass legislation to protect the business community from potential lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The Governor wants legal protection for business owners, first responders, and healthcare organizations from liability for COVID-19 exposure claims if they have made good faith efforts to reduce the risk of exposure and infection by adhering to public health guidelines. He sees liability protection as necessary for the business community to survive the pandemic and thrive afterward:
“Getting people back to work in a safe manner is incredibly important, and vital to our continued success as a state.”
Although the Governor agreed with several of the delegation’s points, the governor challenged the Delegation’s proposal to raise Texas property taxes during prosperity,
“Whether we’re facing times of challenge or times of prosperity—raising taxes on the people of Texas is never the answer.”