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Herschel Walker, the former Dallas Cowboys running back and Republican nominee running for a US Senate seat in Georgia, is set to receive a tax break for his $3 million residence in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb — which may be violates Texas tax law.
According to Tarrant County’s wealth and tax records, Walker filed for a tax exemption on his four-bedroom home in Westlake in 2021 and is expected to do so again this year — even after he registered to vote in Georgia last year. Walker has contested two elections there since then, CNN reported.
The exemption saved Walker more than $1,200 on his property tax bill last year, records from the Tarrant County tax collector show, and would net him more than $1,500 in savings this year.
The liberation of Walker’s Texas homestead could also raise questions about his Senate nomination in Georgia. He is in a runoff with US Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, in a race to determine how much Democrats will control the Senate over the next two years. The US Constitution requires that public officials reside in the state in which they were elected.
Under Texas law, homeowners can take advantage of a home tax exemption — which exempts a certain amount of home value from tax — for only their primary residence. But homeowners can still claim the exemption if they “do not establish a primary residence elsewhere… intend to return to the home… [and] are less than two years away,” according to the state audit office.
According to Tarrant County appraisal records, Walker purchased the Westlake home in 2011. According to records, he has claimed the tax exemption on his Texas home since 2012, which allows him to owe a lower tax bill to the City of Westlake and the Keller Independent School District to count. School districts make up the majority of every Texas homeowner’s tax bill.
Representatives for Walker and the Tarrant County Tax Collector did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Homestead exceptions have historically been difficult territory for Texas politicians.
Just this year, The Texas Tribune reported that U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a McAllen Democrat, and his wife had doubled in property tax breaks for at least eight years by claiming homestead exemptions for two houses — and giving them at least 2,300 as a result Dollars saved in property taxes on the second home. A spokesman for Gonzalez said the congressman will pay back taxes on the second property.
Then-Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, said he would pay $183 in property taxes on a house his daughter lived in while she attended Texas A&M University after news media reported in 2009 that he had filed for an exemption on the house.
Lt. gov. Dan Patrick, a longtime GOP opponent of property taxes, had to pay $595 in back taxes while he was a talk show host in 2005 after receiving tax exemptions on two properties in the Houston area, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Disclosure: Texas A&M University and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts were financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial backers play no part in the Tribune’s journalism. A complete list can be found here.