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State senator expects lawmakers to raise homestead exemption for Texas homeowners

Sen. Paul Bettencourt also addresses possible takeover of HISD, says Texas’ largest district can’t “continue to fail."

TEXAS, USA — Will they or won’t they?

The Houston Independent School District remains in limbo as the Texas Education Agency decides whether to take over the district.

A recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court cleared the way for the possible move, which was initially brought up in 2019 after board dysfunction, alleged trustee misconduct and a repeatedly failing high school.

Since then, Wheatley High School’s ratings have improved, the district has taken significant steps to improve accountability and most of the board has been replaced.

But State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican from Houston whose own legislation defined what can trigger a district takeover, says the decision is entirely up to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath.

“The problem is simply this: You can’t let the state’s largest school district continue to fail,” Bettencourt said on Inside Texas Politics.

Bettencourt was also recently renamed chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, which means he’ll continue to have major influence on property taxes in Texas. 

He thinks the effort the raise the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000 will pass this session.

The homestead exemption reduces the taxable value of a Texan’s primary residence. And if you’re doing the savings math for yourself, you pay around $3,000 for every $100,000 value of your home.

“I expect this bill from going from $40,000 to $70,000 to also pass with overwhelming majorities,” said the Republican. “And these are huge savings. For an average Dallas ISD home, wherever it is in Dallas ISD, for the rest of your life, you’ll save $826 per year.”

Watch the full episode of this week's Inside Texas Politics:

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