AUSTIN - AARP is urging Texas voters to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment giving seniors and disabled homeowners the same property tax reductions that all other homeowners received in 2006.

If adopted, the current frozen tax rates for senior and disabled homeowners will be lowered, then locked in at the new, reduced rates, according to a press release from the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.

Early voting on Constitutional Amendment Proposition 1 began Monday, April 30, and continues through Tuesday, May 8. The general election day is Saturday, May 12.

“We came to Austin last year to give Texas taxpayers the relief they deserve, and I’m making sure that the state’s elderly and disabled taxpayers aren’t left out,” said the constitutional amendment’s author, state Sen. Kip Averitt, R-McGregor, in a statement earlier this session.

“We can’t afford to lose sight of how important it is to protect the tax dollars of each and every Texan,” said Averitt, whose district includes Ellis County.

The item is the only constitutional amendment on the ballot and reads as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for public school purposes on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect any reduction in the rate of those taxes for the 2006 and 2007 tax years.”

“It’s essential that voters ratify this amendment,” said Bob Jackson, AARP-Texas state director. “A ‘yes’ vote for Proposition 1 is a vote for fairness for senior and disabled homeowners. They have waited patiently for this opportunity.”

In 2006, the Legislature granted a property tax cut for all homeowners in the state, but excluded seniors and the disabled.

For the tax cut to have applied to homeowners who are 65 and older, the Constitution needed to be amended because their public school property taxes are currently frozen at the amount in effect when they turned 65.

Homeowners who are disabled have their school taxes frozen at the amount in effect when they purchased their homes. Legislative leaders said seniors were not granted the savings because they ran out of time during the legislative session, according to the AARP press release.The enabling legislation is House Bill 5, with the constitutional amendment proposed under Senate Joint Resolution 13.

Both pieces of legislation passed with unanimous votes in the House and Senate.

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