Senator Bob Deuell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2008
CONTACT: Don T. Forse, Jr.
(512) 463-0102

CAPITOL UPDATE

Constituent Alert: Information on Erroneous E-mail Messages

(AUSTIN) -- Recently, several constituents have contact my office regarding an e-mail message dealing with homestead exemptions for the disabled and those over 65. The message states that in order for seniors and the disabled to receive the property tax reductions passed by the Texas Legislature, voters will have to approve a constitutional amendment on the ballot this May.

I want to ensure my constituents that there is no need to panic. Because of actions taken by me and my colleagues during the last legislative session, reductions in property taxes have already taken effect. In fact, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing the reductions passed last May.

The e-mail in question is as follows:

Subject: Homestead tax cap for 65 & older

You must vote in May to keep the Homestead tax cap for 65 and over, even if you are not 65 yet. If you are a Texas homeowner then this is important to you. If not, it is important to your friends who are. If you agree, please pass along to all on your email lists.

I am sending this email to everyone on my email address list who lives in Texas . I want to be sure you are aware of a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot at the May election. It is an amendment to correct an error made by the lawmakers when they voted for a reduction in school property taxes in 2005.

When the lawmakers voted for a one-third reduction in school property taxes beginning in 2006 and to be completed this year, they forgot about the homestead exemption for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

The state constitution caps school property taxes for homeowners 65 years and older and those who are disabled. However, they DID NOT get the same reduction when the property tax cut for schools was voted on two years ago.

So an amendment is on the May ballot to correct this error. The problem is that most voters who are younger than 65 or not disabled probably won't even notice the amendment or care.

PLEASE get out and vote for this amendment if not for yourself, then for your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends. We would really appreciate your getting the word out to all your friends and families to vote for this amendment.

The fear is that with a low voter turnout, the amendment could very well not pass.

So, please, please pass the word and VOTE for the constitutional amendment. Early voting will take place April 30 - May 5 from 7 am to 7 pm; May 6 from noon to 6 pm and May 7 - May 8 from 7 am to 7 pm. Election day is May 12 from 7 am to 7 pm.

The Texas Legislature did, in fact, have to pass legislation to ensure that the elderly and disabled received the property tax reductions. During the 80th Legislative Session, I was proud to be the Senate sponsor of House Bill 5 by Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler), which ensured these reductions would be enacted.

The legislation did require voter approval, and the measure passed last May with over 87 percent of the vote. It's possible this e-mail message is still lingering from last year, and is only now being forwarded.

Despite what you may receive in your inbox, please be assured that the elderly and disabled will indeed receive the property tax reductions passed by the Texas Legislature.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us.

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