NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
A vulnerable House Democrat in Texas double dipped on a property tax exemption for at least eight years.
From 2014 to 2021, Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and his wife skirted around Texas property tax laws by both claiming a homestead exemption on two properties they separately owned, the Texas Tribune first reported.
Gonzalez, an attorney by trade, claimed the exemption on his McAllen property currently worth $527,054, while his wife claimed the exemption on a second property in the city valued at $287,131.
REP. FLORES HITS BACK AFTER OPPONENT CALLS HER ‘CONFUSED’ ABOUT DEMOCRATS ABANDONING HISPANIC TEXAS VOTERS
Homestead exemptions help alleviate the tax burden on primary properties in Texas, only allowing for a portion of the property’s value to be taxed.
Typically, married couples are only afforded one homestead exemption, and second homes, business properties and rentals are usually not eligible.
The Texas Tribune reported the property tax snafu on Friday and estimated the congressional couple saved at least $2,300 in taxes on the second property.
“It was a simple oversight that was voluntarily corrected as soon as she found out,” Gonzalez told the Tribune in a statement.
The congressman also said the second property was owned by his wife prior to their marriage and she had forgotten to take the exemption off.
A county appraiser told the Tribune the congressman’s wife removed the exemption from her Hidalgo County property in October 2021. Gonzalez’s spokesman James Rivera said the congressman will pay any back taxes owed on the properties.
“We are currently reviewing this case further and we will be doing what is statutorily required within the law,” Hidalgo County assistant chief appraiser Jorge Gonzalez told the Tribune in an email.
Some Texans are eligible for additional homestead exemptions, including the elderly and disabled. Hidalgo County lists both misdemeanor and felony charges for making a false statement on a homestead exemption application.
The double dipping revelation comes as Gonzalez faces down a tough election opponent in freshman Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, who flipped a century-old blue seat in a special election this year.
The battle has grown intense with less than four months to go before election day as the two candidates Texas tango to determine who returns to Washington.
Flores previously pushed back on her midterm opponent’s claims that she is “confused” and “doesn’t represent South Texas values,” after she said Democrats have lost touch with the Hispanic community.
“I think she’s just confused,” Gonzalez said in an MSNBC interview reacting to Flores’ comments on Democrats losing touch with the Hispanic community. “It’s sad that these are just talking points from the Republican Party. They do not represent the values of South Texas and people here.”
Gonzalez also said that Democrats “are clear to take this back in November and kick the Republicans out of South Texas.”
Flores responded to Gonzalez in an exclusive statement to Fox News Digital: “Voters in South Texas are walking away from the Democrat party because politicians like Vicente have refused to secure the border, wrecked our economy with high food and gas prices, and attacked the values of God, Family and Country that our parents instilled in us.”
Hispanics are leaving the Democratic Party in droves, especially in states like Texas and Florida, as was evident by the south Texas seat flip Flores pulled off this year.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Gonzalez is also in a tough spot as Republicans look to kick him from Congress and flip control of the House.
Republicans in the Lone Star State have also been caught up in property tax snares, with both former Gov. Rick Perry and current Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick having their own hiccups with the law.
Fox News Digital’s Aubrie Spady contributed reporting.