Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a final judgment was entered affirming a victory for Texas homeowners and taxpayers in the Kilgore Independent School District. The judgment finalizes the Gregg County Court’s grant of all relief requested by the attorney general in the local option homestead exemption case involving Kilgore ISD’s violation of Texas Senate Bill 1. It is estimated that the school district taxed citizens $4 million or more over what was legally permitted.
“I am grateful that the court recognized Kilgore ISD’s attempt to siphon money away from Texas homeowners without their vote or consent,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Local governments cannot simply ignore laws they do not like. My office will continue to stand up for homeowners in these districts and voters across 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 – one of the highest margins of victory for an amendment in recent history. Because the Legislature paid for the tax breaks in the state budget, the law provided a property tax reduction to homesteaders in Texas with no downside to school districts. Nevertheless, some school districts chose to reduce or repeal their local option homestead exemption and assess homeowners a tax rate that violated the law.
Attorney General Paxton’s office will be in court in Carson County against White Deer ISD next week seeking the same relief it obtained in the Kilgore ISD case. Twenty school districts throughout Texas reduced or repealed their local option homestead exemptions in 2015: Dumas, Kilgore, White Deer, Bridge City, Broaddus, Christoval, Daingerfield-Lone Star, Excelsior, Groesbeck,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.