September 16, 2016 — Austin

The Texas REALTORS® announced its full support of the lawsuit filed today in Carson County, Texas, that seeks to stop White Deer Independent School District from unlawfully collecting property taxes from property owners in the district.

The legal team of Scott PLLCPopp Hutcheson PLLCHoch Law Firm, Friedman & Fieger LLP, and James Otis Law Group filed the suit on behalf of Kelly Martin, a property owner in White Deer ISD.

The case against White Deer ISD, located in the Texas Panhandle, is the first of several lawsuits that will be filed against school districts that have refused to offer property owners the tax relief granted by the Texas Legislature in 2015 and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Two bills from the last legislative session—Senate Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 1—specifically required a local option homestead exemption to not be reduced or repealed from 2014 levels. White Deer ISD has defied the opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s office to reinstate the local option homestead exemption.

TAR Chairman Leslie Rouda Smith said the association is looking forward to a successful outcome that provides much-needed relief to White Deer ISD’s taxpayers. “As the leading advocate for private-property owners in the state, the Texas REALTORS® is proud to stand up for property owners in White Deer ISD. We hope this lawsuit will set an example for taxing entities across the state that are skirting the law to the detriment of Texas property owners simply to increase their revenue,” Smith said.

John Scott, one of the plaintiff’s counselors, said, “We are a country that operates under the rule of law. Unlike the cabal of elected officials on the White Deer school board, Ms. Martin has turned to the courts to confirm and reverse the actions of the board to undo property tax relief. Protecting the people of Texas and their property tax relief is a just and worthy fight. We look forward to undoing this and other school districts who have conspired to deprive tax relief to Texas taxpayers.”