Seniors miss out on County Homestead Exemption!

Most Montgomery County residents have always thought that they were getting a MoCo homestead exemption, simply because that's “common sense” and taxing authorities typically offer that to their taxpayers!

The Texas Legislature authorized the local exemptions years ago but our county choose not to exercise that option, although most, if not all, other local taxing entities do offered it! Early this year several local activists asked the court to provide the 20% Homestead Exemption. Most of the Commissioners voted NO to that exemption. The issue was raised in later Commissioner Court sessions and, eventually, the Court agreed to the 20% Exemption on a 4 to 1 vote.

Most of the Commissioners will benefit personally from their vote. Based on the methodology provided by our county Tax Assessor/Collector, Judge Doyal will see an annual tax reduction of approximately $535. Noack will save $556. Riley will save $172. Clark will save $55. The only commissioner that will see a zero tax reduction is also the only commissioner that voted against the exemption. That would suggest that the Court fully understood how the exemption would apply to Seniors! Dennis Tibbs and most MoCo Seniors will also see a county tax savings of zero! This would also apply to other taxing entities that use this technique.

For decades taxing authorities have offered Seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income, an exemption and an all-important tax ceiling (which “freezes” certain taxes at the amount of the tax in the year they turn 65). What the new exemption does is to give all resident taxpayers an exemption that is the rough equivalent of the Senior Freeze which, essentially, negates the benefit that, traditionally, has gone to those fixed income Seniors.

Exemptions are discussed, in very wordy detail, in the Texas Constitution, Article 8, Sec.j, sec.1-b thru 1-h and further clarified(?) by the 84th Legislature, S.B. 1, SECTION 2, Section 11.26(a). Whether or not this implementation could be spun to comply with the letter of the Texas law is unclear but, surely, it does not comply with the spirit of the law concerning the elderly exemptions!

We need to let our local and state official know that we are not satisfied with an exemption that is withheld from the folks who worked so hard to make this state great!

Dennis Tibbs

Magnolia, Texas

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