FALSE STATEMENT: The City of The Woodlands will give Seniors and Disabled property taxpayers a tax freeze.
The new City Council of The City of The Woodlands MAY, but is not required to adopt the permanent Senior Tax Freeze. There will be some period of transition before a City Council is elected and established. Current Board leadership soundly rejected Director McMullan’s proposed temporary increase to the Homestead Exemption a couple years ago. While the Exemption would have applied to all taxpayers on their primary residences, the Senior Tax Freeze will create a revenue shortfall that benefits only those 65+ and will penalize those under 65 years old, including young families. There is no income or wealth test to qualify for the Senior Tax Freeze.
Background: At the current time, some cities chose to provide a Senior and Disabled Tax Freeze on the property tax of a primary residence of those aged 65 and above and disabled home owners. Other cities do not provide this Tax Freeze. The Freeze allows Seniors and Disabled home owners of all income levels to freeze the amount of property tax they pay to the city and pay the same amount of tax each year. Unless the city cuts city services, this will result in a revenue shortfall that must be made up by those under age 65, including young families or by other taxes and fees. The city cannot increase the sales tax or HOT tax rate, so the choice is to raise the property tax on young able-bodied people or start charging high user fees for services such as trash pickup, water and sewer user fees or any number of other fees that cities charge. As the years pass, the difference between the frozen tax paid and the actual tax that otherwise would be paid grows and the revenue loss grows exponentially, putting pressure on other property taxpayers and all residents who would be subject to city fees.
This explains why many cities chose NOT to adopt a Senior Tax Freeze. In fact, the Senior Tax Freeze was a matter of legislative interest in Austin this past spring. The Texas Municipal League, the association that supports and represents cities opposed two bills (HB 1705 and HJR 84) that would make the Senior Tax Freeze mandatory for cities, not optional citing the city’s need to assess the demographics and its own budgetary needs as well as pointing out the inequality of merely shifting the property tax burden from older to younger people. The bill died in Committee.
Interestingly enough, there were also six bills filed in the Spring that proposed extending the Senior and Disabled Tax Freeze option to SPDs (Special Purpose Districts) like The Woodlands. (HB 381, HJR 22, HB 1061, HJR 62, HB 1283, HJR 71). None of our state representatives authored or even sponsored these bills. It would seem that if obtaining a Senior Tax Freeze was so important that we need to radically and inalterably change our form of government, The Township would have been lobbying hard for this change in the law allowing them to adopt a Senior Tax Freeze. Did they? None of the bills passed. This graphic was included in “literature” of a pro-incorporation advocate:
So ask yourself, does the Board really want the Senior Tax Freeze or do they want seniors’ votes?