The bill, which would grant tax credits to straight married couples, wouldn’t apply to couples who have been divorced in the past. The children eligible under the bill would need to have been born or adopted by the couple after they got married, and there would need to be four or more of them before the law would apply. There’s no evidence that the bill is supported by Republicans other than state Rep. Bryan Slaton, who introduced it on Feb. 27, 2023.
On Feb. 28, 2023, claims about a property tax bill proposed in the Texas Legislature began to spread on platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit.
"Texas republicans introduced a bill to give huge tax cuts to *straight* couples having children—with up to 100% cut in property taxes for TEN kids," tweeted Sawyer Hackett, who is a Democratic strategist and communications consultant.
Holy shit. Texas republicans introduced a bill to give huge tax cuts to *straight* couples having children—with up to 100% cut in property taxes for TEN kids.
The bill's author said "Get married, stay married, and be fruitful and multiply."
This is handmaid's tale shit. pic.twitter.com/HQROWJTj8R
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) March 2, 2023
On TikTok, one video said of the bill, "If you have, no joke, 10 kids, you can get 100% reduction in your property taxes."
The claims had both truthful and misleading elements. It's misleading to claim "Texas Republicans" introduced or backed the bill when there's no evidence anyone other than Rep. Bryan Slaton, the measure's author, supports it. Slaton, who is a Republican, introduced the proposal in the Texas legislature on Feb. 27.
We found it is true that the bill, Texas House Bill 2889, would give a 100% cut in property taxes to a married couple with 10 kids who meet certain criteria. Also, it would grant the credit only to straight married couples.
But the bill wouldn't apply to couples who had been previously divorced before their current marriages. The children eligible under the bill would have to either have been born or adopted by the couple after they got married.
HB 2889 defines a married couple who would qualify for the tax credit as "a man and a woman who are legally married to each other, neither of whom have ever been divorced." If one member of the couple dies, the widow(er) would be eligible to receive the credit as long as the person didn't remarry. And if the widow(er) did remarry, the new spouse would have to adopt that child(ren) for the credit to apply.
Part of the bill that has been spreading online says:
Sec.31.038. HOMESTEAD TAX CREDIT FOR CERTAIN MARRIED COUPLES. (a) In this section: (1) "Qualifying child" means a child of any age who is: (A) a natural child of both spouses of a qualifying married couple born after the date on which the qualifying married couple married; (B) an adopted child of both spouses of a qualifying married couple adopted after the date on which the qualifying married couple married; or (C) the adopted child of one spouse of a qualifying married couple adopted after the date on which the qualifying married couple married if the child is the natural or adopted child of the other spouse and that other spouse was a widow or widower before the date on which the qualifying married couple married.
This means that any child who would count for the tax credit under the bill would have to be born or adopted after the couple married. A later section specifies this would be the case regardless whether the child(ren) lived in a separate home from the couple, or the child(ren) had died.
Later in the bill, it says:
(c) A qualifying married couple with four or more qualifying children may substitute the following, as applicable, for 10 percent when computing the amount of credit to which the couple is entitled under Subsection (b): (1) 40 percent, if the qualifying married couple have four qualifying children; (2) 50 percent, if the qualifying married couple have five qualifying children; (3) 60 percent, if the qualifying married couple have six qualifying children; (4) 70 percent, if the qualifying married couple have seven qualifying children; (5) 80 percent, if the qualifying married couple have eight qualifying children; (6) 90 percent, if the qualifying married couple have nine qualifying children; or (7) 100 percent, if the qualifying married couple have 10 or more qualifying children.
Starting with four qualified children under the bill, a qualified married couple would be able to get a 40% property tax credit if they had four children. The tax break would go up by 10% for every additional child they have, with couples who have 10 or more children eligible for a full 100% tax break.
As of this writing, the bill does not have any other sponsors. On March 14, the bill was sent to the House Ways & Means committee. We'll update this fact check if that changes.