Several bills were recently filed to alleviate some of the property tax burden many home owners face after disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
Under current law, a property owner can claim a homestead exemption on unlivable property for only two years after a disaster. However, the bills would extend that exemption period to five years.
Bills like these are a step in the right direction for Port Aransas residents, like Jenni Kite, who felt the devastating impacts of the storm.
“We’re having to still fight,” said Kite. “We’re still living like the storm just happened.”
Kite, who’s also a business-owner in town, lived in her home for just shy of a year when the storm hit.
“We had just bought this (home), and we had just gotten in it,” said Kite.
Now a year and a half later, her home is still unlivable. But since the storm hit, she and her family have been living inside a two-bedroom RV. The RV still sits in front of her badly- damaged home.
However, Kite is still paying property taxes on a home she’s not even living in.
“It’s hard to write that check,” said Kite. “And it’s hard to give that (money) away when you know that your home is destroyed.”
Kite estimates there are more than $200,000 in damages to her home. It’s been a work in progress in repairing those damages. And now that another tax season is underway, Kite is just hoping for some relief.
“Cut the taxes back a little bit, so we can put that money toward a home and get our homes back,” said Kite.
Thankfully for the Kite family, they hope to move out of the RV and into a new home within one month.
If the property tax reform bills pass in both the house and the senate, the bill would take effect immediately.