S.A. Council Tonight Will Consider a Property Tax Homestead Exemption

San Antonio City Council today will consider its first city wide property tax homestead exemption as the 2020 budgeting process begins, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Don't expect a major windfall, Council is poised to approve an exemption on '.01%' of the total appraised value of the homestead, amounting to no more than a couple dollars per month in savings for homeowners. But many members of Council, led by northeast side Councilman Clayton Perry, say any cut in skyrocketing property taxes would help homeowners who are struggling to hold onto their homes in the face of sharply higher property valuations.

A 'homestead exeption' reduces the total amount of the taxable appraised value of a home which is occupied full time by the homwoner that property taxes are charged on. For example, a $2800 property tax exemption, which is roughly what is being discussed today, would mean a $280,000 home, which is about the average in San Antonio, would have to pay property tax on $277,200 of that total valuation.

And the Council is not doing this out of generosity. As the city puts together its 2020 budget, there is talk that a general property tax increase will be needed to pay for the initiatives, and a homestead exemption would help the city avoid a general election under nearly approved House Bill 2. That limits cities and counties to 3.5% increases in total revenue gains due to property tax hikes without a public vote.

The City currently provided homestead exemptions to over 65 and disabled taxpayers, but no exemption for general homeowners. The state does offer a homestead exemption to property owners.

Today's vote would be the first step by the new city council in coming up with a 2020 City budget.

A major survey of residents which has been conducted by the City over the last several weeks shows that, as the budget process begins, housing affordability is seen as the number one problem facing the City.

When asked what more tax money should be spent on 'streets and infrastructure' ranked first, following by 'public safety services,' mainly fire protection, with 'neighborhood improvements' right behind.

When asked what the City could stand to cut funding for in the upcoming budget, Code Enforcement and libraries ranked at the top of the list.

The City Council is set to take its regular summer recess in July, and will dig into the nuts and bolts of the budget in August. The budget will be voted on in early September, and takes effect October 1.

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