August 14, 2014
Over the last few weeks, lots has happened around property tax fairness. Here are some of the things we wanted to share:
On August 8th, the San Antonio Express News released an editorial responding to what the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association’s (TTRA) is calling a study. Their argument blames the economy for homeowners bearing the burden of rising property taxes. The San Antonio Express points out that the TTRA misses the point that commercial property tax papers unfairly abuse the system for their own benefit.
In an article covering the TTRA’s argument, Michael Amezquita, chief appraiser for the Bexar County Appraisal District, said the appeals “are nothing more than the manipulation of values of ‘comparable properties’ that results in values lower than market value.”’
On August 5, the Travis County Central Appraisal District asked the Commissioner’s Court for a budget increase to cover the costs of litigation associated with commercial property tax protests. The 20% increase would help to hire experts and outside appraisers to attempt to obtain more conclusive data on the value of commercial properties. (Austin Statesman, July 22,2014)
In Ector County, Chief Appraiser Anita Campbell put out an editorial about the responsibilities of appraisal districts and those who oversee them. She explains, briefly, the laws appraisers must follow and who audits their work.
KVIA reported on August 10 that the Canutillo ISD must repay Outlet Shoppes over $1 million in already collected property taxes after a CAD settled a lawsuit in March that gave a more than 30% reduction in appraised value. Dinah Kilgore states that if all information were required to be presented upfront, there would be less appraisal protests.
In Austin, city council and mayoral candidates are discussing a homestead exemption. (KXAN, August 4, 2014)
In El Paso, the El Paso Chamber of Commerce is questioning the abilities and expertise of the central appraisal district. El Paso is the only city in Texas that allows elected officials to sit on its board, said City Representative Emma Acosta.(KVIA, August 10, 2014)
Participants of the Texas Tribune’s, August 1, Insider Poll believe that commercial property taxes are valued too low. One participant stated: “The property valuations are not fairly determined. Large corporations have taxable values in the 70% range, small businesses are valued at a higher percentage, and residential property owners valued above 90% of market value.”