Two Harris County commissioners blocked a vote on a proposed 8% property tax rate hike Tuesday causing an automatic rate cut.
The Democratic majority on the court proposed raising the county taxes by 8% to get ahead of a new state-imposed 3.5% annual cap on property tax increase which takes effect in Texas on January 1.
State law requires a quorum of four out of five commissioners to be present for a vote on tax rates, instead of the customary three. Republican commissioners R. Jack Cagle and Steve Raddack chose to sit out the vote Tuesday to deny the requirements of a quorum and prevent the vote, Cagle announced in a news release.
"Because there was no quorum at today's meeting, state law mandates that the county's tax rate revert to the 'effective rate,' meaning Cagle and Radack's absence actually forced a cut in the tax rate," according to the release from Cagle's office.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo slammed Cagle and Raddack in a statement, saying residents "don't expect all of us to agree on everything, but they do expect us to be grownups when making tough decisions."
Hidalgo said "because of their decision to play politics rather than to govern, we're left with the consequences. Consequences that will have potential catastrophic impacts on our ability to provide services our residents expect — the very same issues we all agree are priorities, like flood control, quality services for veterans, public safety, and infrastructure."
How your wallet is affected:
|Current Rate||62.998 cents per $100|
|Proposed Rate||65.26 cents per $100|
|Slashed Rate||61.17 cents per $100|
At the current rate, property owners in Harris County pay about 63 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Had the proposed increased rate of about 65 cents per $100 passed, the average property owner would have had to pay about $38 more.
Due to the forced slashing of the rate Tuesday, property owners will now have to pay about 61 cents per $100 of assessed value. By those numbers, a homeowner with a $230,000 house would see about a $46 reduction in property tax.
KPRC's Phil Archer contributed to this report.