Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a final judgment from the Carson County Court affirms a win for taxpayers and homeowners in White Deer Independent School District. The court agreed that White Deer ISD violated Texas Senate Bill 1 by refusing to offer property owners tax relief granted by the Legislature in 2015, and instead taxed more than what was legally permitted.
“Local governments simply cannot selectively ignore state law,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I am pleased that this court recognized that White Deer ISD violated the Texas Constitution when they took hard-earned money from homeowners without their vote or consent. My office remains committed to standing up for homeowners and taxpayers throughout the state.”
After the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 1 in May 2015 with near universal support, 86 percent of voters ratified the amendment in one of the highest margins of victory for a recent amendment. The Legislature paid for the tax breaks in the state budget, and the law provided a property tax reduction to homesteaders in Texas with no decrease in funding for local school districts. Despite this, some school districts chose to reduce or repeal their local option homestead exemption and assess a tax rate that clearly violated the law.
The attorney general’s office intervened in a similar property tax lawsuit against Dumas ISD. That case is still pending.
Twenty school districts throughout Texas reduced or repealed their local option homestead exemptions in 2015: Dumas, Kilgore, White Deer, Bridge City, Broaddus, Christoval, Daingerfield-Lone Star, Excelsior, Groesbeck, Gruver, Hardin-Jefferson, High Island, Kountze, Lexington, Mount Pleasant, Riviera, Shepherd, Spurger, Veribest and Winfield.