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PROPOSITION 1 explanation and arguments

Nov. 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.


Official Ballot Language

The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.

Explanation

Currently the Tax Code fully exempts residential homesteads of totally disabled veterans from property taxes.

Proposition 1 would let the Legislature give a property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if the property had been exempted from property taxes under the disabled veteran's exemption, if it was the residence of the surviving spouse when the veteran died and remained the surviving spouse's residence homestead thereafter, and if the surviving spouse had not remarried.

This exemption would follow the surviving spouse if a new homestead were purchased and the surviving spouse had not remarried. The exemption would be limited to the dollar amount of the exemption of the previous qualifying homestead.

If passed, this exemption would apply to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2012.

Arguments For

Surviving spouses of disabled veterans deserve support for the sacrifices they have made. Texas already gives some surviving spouses the right to inherit other property tax breaks, such as the school tax freeze available to homeowners at age 65, which is transferable to the surviving spouse who is at least 55 years old at the time of the transfer.

Allowing the exemption to follow the surviving spouse to a new homestead property helps contain the cost. If the surviving spouse moves to a less expensive home, the more valuable original homestead property is no longer exempt. If the surviving spouse moves to a more expensive home, the surviving spouse can exempt only the value of the original homestead.

Arguments Against

Extending the tax exemptions would decrease property tax revenue to local governments.

Tax exemptions should not be extended when basic services such as schools, health care, parks and transportation are critically underfunded.

From the Texas League of Women Voters

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