Capitol Update: Property Tax Problems

April 11, 2017

Dear Friends,

Property taxes are a problem, and that’s putting it mildly. Have you received your 2017 appraisal notice? Some appraisals here in Tarrant County are downright shocking, like the ones discussed in this WFAA story.

As an immediate course of action, if you think your appraisal is too high, don’t hesitate to file a protest by the May 31 deadline. The protest form should have been included in your notice, and you can also print a copy off the appraisal district website.

On a broader scale, we’re looking at ways to reform property taxes statewide. Last year, the interim Senate Committee on Property Tax Reform & Relief traveled the state holding public hearings and listening to more than 50 hours of citizen input about ways to improve the property tax system.

As a member of the committee, I was struck by how similar the testimony was whether we were in Arlington or Harlingen, Lubbock or Plano: property taxes are rising too fast… just about everywhere.

Property taxes are local taxes, but to the extent that we can, the state has a duty to step in and help govern the process. Here are two pieces of legislation you can follow this session aimed at keeping those rates from skyrocketing year-to-year.

  • SB 2, the Property Tax Reform & Relief Act of 2017, is the major bill that came out of our interim hearings around the state. This legislation lowers what’s called the “rollback rate” from 8% to 5%. That means a city that wants to increase its tax rate by more than 5% has to hold an election to get voter approval. This bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House.
  • SB 2207 is a bill we authored to strengthen the burden of proof requirement a chief appraiser must meet when increasing a property value. This bill was heard in the Senate Finance Committee this week.

We encourage you to follow these bills using the Texas Legislature Online website and let your family, friends, and neighbors know to contact their representatives to show their support. With just 50 days remaining in the 85th Legislative Session, it’s time to get these taxpayer priorities passed!

Sincerely,

Kelly Hancock
State Senator, District 9


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