Houston Chronicle

Montgomery County ponders bigger senior tax break

- By Catherine Dominguez cdominguez@houstonchr­onicle.com

Montgomery County commission­ers are considerin­g a tax exemption increase to $50,000 for residents 65 and older for the next budget year.

Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae presented informatio­n on the county’s current exemption during the commission­ers court meeting Tuesday.

The county offers a maximum 20 percent homestead exemption, $35,000 for residents 65 and older and $75,000 for disabled residents.

McRae said she is required to present the tax exemption informatio­n to the commission­ers each year. During that time, the court can make adjustment­s in those exemptions.

Precinct 3 Commission­er James Noack requested informatio­n on increasing the 65 and older exemption from $35,000 to $50,000, McRae said.

Raising the exemption to $50,000 would save taxpayers about $2.7 million, she said.

Noack asked Budget Officer Amanda Carter and Auditor Rakesa Pandy to determine if the county could absorb the increase from $35,000 to $50,000 for the 2024 budget.

“I think it would be a great thing to do to be able to increase the exemption to $50,000 for anyone 65 or older,” Noack said.

The court agreed and tabled the item until its next meeting March 28.

The county last adjusted its tax exemptions in February 2017 raising the homestead exemption to the max of 20 percent followed by an increase in the disabled exemption from $35,000 to $75,000 in March of 2018.

During a March 27 meeting, McRae presented informatio­n on increasing the exemption.

“I think we ought to go $75,000,” Precinct 2 Commission­er Charlie Riley said during that meeting.

However, the court agreed that would result in additional revenue loss for the county on the heels of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.

McRae said the county lost about $1.7 million in revenue after the commission­ers approve the reappraisa­l of homes damaged by the storm. There were a reported 4,600 homes damaged during Harvey’s floods that dumped more than 30 inches of rain on the region.

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