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Vice Chair Andrew Murr Passes Legislation To Cut Property Tax




AUSTIN, TX – On Thursday, State Representative Andrew Murr’s (R-Junction) House Bill 297
was passed by the Texas House by a vote of 95 to 46. The bill would abolish school district
maintenance and operations (M&O) property taxes by January 1, 2022. On average across the
state, school M&O taxes account for more than 50% of all property taxes. It is also the part of the
property tax that is subject to recapture, otherwise known as “Robin Hood.” The legislation will
end the process of recapture as we know it, and cut the average property tax bill nearly in half.
“Too often, our elected officials pay lip service to the idea of property tax relief without offering
any meaningful solutions,” said Rep. Murr following the vote. “This vote takes direct aim at the
problem of skyrocketing property tax bills. I commend Speaker Bonnen and the 95 other members,
both Democrats and Republicans, who stood up for property owners today. And I implore the
Texas Senate to take up and pass this legislation as well.”
Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen also voiced his support for the bill. “I was proud to
vote in support of House Bill 297, and I thank Representative Murr for putting the House on the
right track toward identifying additional solutions that would bolster our efforts to reform the
school finance and property tax systems.” said Speaker Bonnen.
The driving force behind rising property taxes in Texas is the school finance system. While a
statewide property tax is prohibited by the Texas Constitution, local school districts rely upon local
property taxes to help fund public education. According to the Texas Education Agency, those
local taxes now account for over 60% of the cost of funding public schools, with the state paying
for less than 40%.
In the place of M&O taxes, House Bill 297 would require legislators to find another source of
funding, such as a consumption tax, to replace the revenue. By transitioning to a broader tax base
from other sources, the state can better meet its’ obligation to provide for the public education of
our children, while also reducing the burden on home owners and property taxpayers.
House Bill 297 is structured to be revenue neutral and ensure there is no reduction in funding for
public schools. Enrichment spending by school districts would also be unaffected and remain at
the discretion of local school districts, maintaining local control over a small amount of
discretionary revenue.
“While Texas is generally viewed as a low-tax state, the dirty little secret is that our property tax
rates are among the highest in the nation. In fact, it’s only places like New Jersey, Illinois and
Connecticut who have higher rates than ours. Slashing the property tax will provide tangible
incentives for out-of-state businesses to re-locate to Texas and for existing businesses to expand
and create new jobs.” remarked Rep. Murr. “It will give families greater opportunities for home
ownership, while also protecting existing homeowners, particularly those on fixed-incomes, from
skyrocketing appraisals and crippling tax bills.
Murr added, “People have been complaining about Robin Hood for as long as I can remember, but
until today we have not had the political will to actually solve the problem. By passing this
legislation, the Texas House has said that enough is enough. We will no longer saddle property
owners with an unjust tax system that punishes them for owning their little piece of Texas.”
House Bill 297 now moves to the Texas Senate. If passed by the Senate, it will go to Governor
Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.


Rep. Andrew Murr is a rancher, attorney, small businessman and former Kimble County Judge who has
represented District 53 in the Texas House since 2015. House District 53 includes Bandera, Crockett,
Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher and Sutton Counties.

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