What your legislators are doing about property-tax and appraisal reform

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Professional headshot of Mark Lehman

12/08/2015 | Author: Mark Lehman

In Lehman's Terms

Although the Texas Legislature meets only 140 days every two years, the work of your lawmakers extends far beyond those few days. Your state legislators are already hard at work identifying legislative issues to address during the next Texas legislative session in 2017.

In fact, the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief had its first official meeting December 7. State Sen. Paul Bettencort, chairman of this committee, says that lawmakers will visit all parts of the state to hear from Texans about their experiences with the appraisal process.

“Today is the next step in the process to deliver meaningful property-tax relief and appraisal reform for all Texans,” said Bettencourt at the opening of the hearing. “The recent victory of Proposition 1 with 86% of the vote is indicative of Texans’ frustration with this out-of-control system. We will be tackling the complex appraisal, rate-setting, and appeal process that is byzantine at worst and certainly confusing.” 

Additional property-tax reform is very important to the Texas Association of REALTORS®, and we will inform you of the hearing locations and details when the schedule becomes available. I encourage every Texan to attend a hearing and to express your opinions about property taxes and the property tax appraisal process. 

Government is most effective when citizens are given a convenient opportunity to have their voices heard in a meaningful way about what they expect from their elected officials. We are very fortunate to have a state government where elected officials are willing to get out of Austin and listen to the citizens who they represent.

Mark Lehman is vice president of Governmental Affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

Categories: In Lehman's Terms
Tags: in lehman's terms, governmental affairs


jds on 12/02/2016

We all are keenly aware and agree residential property owners in Texas have the burden of paying more than their fair share of property taxes.

Homeowners in Texas cities and counties need to stop blaming the Appraisal Districts for poor assessment of property and look at the reality of why residential property taxes continue to climb each year.

Our brilliant Legislators should take a look at Section 22 of the Texas Property Tax Code, Business Personal Property (BPP). BPP is a property tax enigma. Most legislators have no idea what Ad Valorem taxation is. Section 22 of the Texas Property Tax Code (paraphrasing), “a business MUST render anything used in the production of income to the appraisal district as of January 01 of each year.” Sounds simple, right?

There are holes in the language of the tax code that allow businesses to pay considerably less than their fair share of property taxes. That’s too bad.

If businesses did pay their fair share of Business Personal Property (BPP) property taxes each year, homeowners would see a CONSIDERABLE drop in their assessed taxes. Someone has to pay for schools, police and fire departments.

One reason no one brings up the BPP issue is because BPP is comprised of tangible and intangible assets, which are sometimes elusive and difficult to assess value. Even the Comptroller’s office downplays BPP.

Lowering the homestead cap or any other bone tossed to homeowners will never help as intended because each taxing unit will still need money to run the government and schools.

The only way to level the property tax playing field is to overhaul the Property Tax Code across the board, period.

As long as there are lobbyist and special interest groups, it’s doubtful there will be real relief for homeowners any time soon.

Jon C on 05/04/2016

The property tax in Texas is completely unreasonable and unfair.  We are currently in the process of buying a home and I am worried about being able to afford the payment in five years because the government can decide to charge me whatever they want and I have no say or warning before I buy.  On our previous home my mortgage was 750$ but property tax near 400$!!!  How is that fair?  Why even pay off your home.  In 30 years a home owner will be paying more than what they agreed to pay on purchase after its paid off with all going to taxes!!! Ridiculous!

I’m for sales tax and income tax.  I don’t care I just know this property tax system has to go.

Dalia on 04/05/2016

What really needs to be done is big business needs pay their fair share.  In our county, the County Commissioners have granted multi-billion (with a B) dollar plants 100% abatements for a minimum of 10 years and with the agreement that was set up, the abatement can extend well beyond the 10 years of the initial agreement.

J. Galka on 02/05/2016

We are still nibbling around the edges

I agree that the property tax burden is too much for homeowners.
We need to go back to totally removing this burden from homeowners like it was in Texas during the middle of last century.
Spread this cost out to 100% of the people with a small sales tax. Low income could get a prebate to avoid paying added sales tax.
Eliminate most exemptions and this would be possible.
We could stimulate the Texas economy like nothing before in history.
I hope you can help homeowners finally get a chance to really own their property.

Oleg Levin on 12/14/2015

I thinking of property taxes every time and every year. Rates on ISD is too much go
up from 1.25 to 1.5 or higher,  appraisal of property is way to one way to local government and going high.  My believe is that :
When you buy property it should be at sale price appraised.
When you sell property next buyer pay sale price tax property
If you live in home, tax property should never go up ,because you just loose money
paying for market price who is care? Only county government benefit of this.
Procedure is very difficult I think, but you on right move to change the system.
Thank you.

Candy Cargill on 12/11/2015

How wonderful.  I think this is the biggest gripe I hear from property owners and would be property owners.  It would make life easier for all Texans.  That Committee has bumpy road ahead.  Our Governmental Affairs Team will be there to help any way they can.  Thanks.

Tom Morgan on 12/08/2015

Thank you for keeping these property tax issues in front and center.  Fair property taxation is fundamental to private property rights.

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