Texas Property Taxes---What he Heck?

I’ve been talking to a couple of companies in the Houston and San Antonio area, and have been checking out th prices of houses, general cost of living, etc.

Could anyone explain the property taxes to me, though?

I just don’t get it. The property taxes are enormous Like about $5,000 a year for a modest house. WTF? Our house in Florida, which as you all probably know, is eat slam up with spiralling costs, cost me about $900 in property taxes last year. (just did my income taxes)

This house is about $250,000 more or less. We’re looking at $185,000 TO $200,000 houses, so the prices are comparable.

Five thousand dollars? Can someone explaiin this to me?

No, seriously, I am just asking. What extra stuff does one get for this money? It ain’t just the schools, a lot of them in Texas are in crisis mode.

And, just for the record, it isn’t state income taxes that are the diff, either…neither Florida nor Texas has a state income tax.


Probably the local tax rate there, AFAIK there is no “Texas” property tax, it’s set by the local tax entities.


I went ahead and dug out this year’s property tax statement.

County taxes are .44775/100 So $200K would be $895.50

Road taxes are .04117/100 $82.34

Water taxes .0144/100 $28.80

School taxes 1.5169/100 $3033.80

City taxes .695/100 $1390

So the taxes here are basically the same as Houston and San Antonio, $5430 for a $200K house.

I guess everything is bigger in Texas?

The answer is pretty simple. Texas doesn’t have a state income tax. The money has to come from somewhere and property taxes are a favored way to get it in the states that don’t have an income tax. New Hampshire doesn’t have an income tax or a sales tax and uses the same strategy.

Don’t feel bad though, here is merry old Massachusetts, my property taxes are a lot higher than that and we get all the other taxes as well.

Oops. I didn’t read the last sentence of the OP. I didn’t realize Florida had no income tax as well.

I have no idea the. Where does Florida get its money?

Tourism. According to http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=95, tourism poured $57 billion dollars into Florida’s economy.

As a note, the Texas Legislature is about to hold a special session for school finance/property tax reform. They are expected to lower the school property tax from 1.50 / 100 to 1.00 / 100 and change the way businesses are taxed to make up for the shortfall. But as I understand it, the local school district won’t necessarily be required to make the full 50 cent reduction on the tax, so the best I can say is that your property tax might go down in the near future (ie, until the appraisal district raises the value of the property so that it’s all a wash).

I understand our homeowner’s insurance rates are fairly high here, too: quotes for a $200,000 house would probably range from $700 to about $1300 per year.

It might be skewed but where your assets are placed but Texas and Florida are ranked side-by-side out of the 50 states for tax burden and both rank in the 10 lowest at 6th and 7th lowest of all respectively.


According to this site, Florida gets most (60%) of its tax revenue from sales taxes, with corporate income, fuel, communications and “documentary stamp” taxes making up most of the remainder.

OK, thank you all for the info and insight. I probably should have realized that other states have even higher taxes

Maybe it isn’t so bad, after all. Just kinda surprised me at first.

You know, I looked at Shagnasty’s link, and I’m confused. I know how to read tables; that’s not the problem. Something just seems wrong.

Comparing my state (Michigan) to Texas, We get:

State     Rank   Tax/Income   Per Capita Taxes    Per Capita Income
Michigan  22     10.7%        3686                36312
Texas     43     10.9%        3167                33907

Very similar percentage of taxes overall, and the per capitas don’t strike me as that different. The cost of living in Texas is cheaper than Michigan as a whole. On the surface, it looks like we’re both very similar states. Actually, it looks like I should pay more in total taxes than in Texas, but…

But $5000 for a <$250,000 house! And $3000 for just the school portion! Holy cow! That school millage is more than my entire property tax bill, and he have expensive, good schools. We also have a relatively small, 6% sales tax. Heck, my state income tax added to my property tax is still less than just your property taxes. I imagine your sales tax is probably 8.25%? I hope you at least get free garbage pickup. :slight_smile:

Yeah, to be fair, we sometimes have ridiculous millage rates, but those are in rundown places like Detroit, Pontiac, or Mt. Clemens where all of the tax base has left, and they have to charge higher rates to make up for it. But this keeps people like me out, and thus a self-fullfilling circle of poverty develops, because more people leave for cheaper, safer areas, and the tax rate has to go up again. But those are isolated little pockets and are easy to avoid.

What the heck is going on in Texas with your taxes?

6% state sales tax + 1% optional county sales tax, plus a corporate income tax, mostly.

BTW, LiveOnAPlane, property taxes statewide are not that low – on my house, which has a taxable value of $113,000, we pay just under $2600 a year in property tax.

Modest home. New Jersey. Average American Suburb: $8500/year.

It all depends where you live. Birmingham and Farmington are two areas where the taxes are pretty high. I pay over 5K for a house I bought 3 years ago for 265K, so it’s not all that far out of line. We add basically another 4,000 per student for our public school program.

Keep in mind that in Michigan, the state gives like 6K per student for the schools. In Texas, that might be different.

Holy cow! 43.46 permil for homestead rate in Farmington? That’s ghetto rates (Mt. Clemens is 46.93 in their bad school district, and it’s mostly not a nice place for living). I guess I’ve been lucky all my life: 24.55 mills in Ft. Gratiot, 38.27 in Warren (in my previous school district area), and my nice, comfortable 35.22 in Clinton Twp. (for my school district, and yeah, we have city services including our own fire and police, and excellent schools [in my district]).

So, I feel lucky all of a sudden.

Did you factor in the Texas Homestead Exemption? If you live in Texas and don’t know about this, then I just saved you a bunch of money.

Texas homestead exemption is just $15K. Not a lot of difference on a $200K home, but it knocks a couple hundred bucks off the school tax.

Actually, it’s more for people over 65 and old folks are protected from future increases. Over many years, it adds up.

Long story short…our beloved state is set up with two levels of taxation: the tax rate and the property evaluation. The legislature can sit back and loudly declaim, “Hey, it’s not our fault your taxes are high - we haven’t raised the rates!”. They look totally innocent, while your local property evaluations have been busily raising the value of the property at a rate of 10% per year. As as result, the tax rate has stayed flat, but we are paying double what we were 8 years ago and the state is rolling in dough to piss away on various boondoggle escapades.

We are undergoing a grass roots revolution. The last elections saw a whole bunch of folks get elected that have a specific agenda of tax reform (see www.clouttexas.com). They are specifically looking at capping the evaluation to a max of 3-5% per year. I don’t think that goes far enough.

I support the frozen evaluation concept. We roll the property evaluations back to where they were on 1/1/2003, then freeze them. All taxation is based on that evaluation, and it does not change until the property is sold. At that time, the sale price becomes the new evaluation. Property built after 1/1/2003 uses the initial sale or building cost, whichever applies, as the evaluation. This puts the taxation burden directly on the legislature, where it belongs, because in order to raise property taxes, they have to have an election and the public has to approve the tax increase.