• Local Government For Property Tax Reform
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    Local Texas Government Amps Up For Property Tax Reform

    Local governments are listening to homeowners and taking action to reform Texas’s broken property tax system. City councils, county commissions and school boards have taken action and supported the call for Real Values for Texas.

    Most recently, the Houston Independent School Board District passed its legislative agenda for the 84th session and included language to make property tax reform a priority.   Homeowners in Houston have had to pay approximately $871.3 million more in property taxes for schools because commercial property owners don’t pay their fair share.  This hurts our local community and our kids.   However, the School Board’s support for statewide reform will help to put more pressure on legislators who have the power to close statewide loopholes that allow commercial property owners to shirk their share.

    In addition, just a few months ago, the Houston Community College Board of Trustees also passed a resolution making property tax reform a legislative priority and pressure on the Houston City Council to take action has increased.

    In other areas of the state, local governments are moving as well.

    In San Antonio, homeowners and community organizations are meeting with city council members to push for a resolution. At a meeting on Tuesday, leaders and homeowners called City Council Member Rey Saldaña, District 4, to urge him to push for Real Values for Texas.


    El Paso homeowners claimed a victory recently, as well, when the El Paso County Commission unanimously passed a resolution of support for property tax reform.  Austin City Council has also passed it’s legislative agenda for the 84th session and it includes support for reform.

    In Dallas, homeowners are gearing up and educating homeowners around the issue, their rights and how to use their voices to create a fair property tax system.

    Real Values for Texas continues to grow and homeowners are looking forward to working with legislators who understand the importance of a fair system that maintains communities public quality services.

    Take action today – sign up to receive emails like this and learn how you can get involved.


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  • Download the Petition!
    Download the Petition!
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    Looking to get more involved?  Take this simple step.  Download a petition, ask your friends and family, neighbors and maybe even some strangers to sign it.  Then email info@realvaluesfortexas.org to have someone pick up your petition or find out where to send it.

    Click the petition to download and get started.


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  • El Paso County Supports Property Tax Reform
    El Paso County Supports Property Tax Reform
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    On Monday, homeowners, community leaders and other Real Values or Texas partners stood together at the El Paso County Commissioners meeting to speak out for property tax reform.

    photo (25)

    They were heard.

    The County Commission unanimously passed a resolution in support of statewide property tax reform. The resolution resolves “that the El Paso photo 2 (16)County Judge and Commissioners Court support appraisal district legal fee reform, equity appeals reform, and mandatory real estate sales price disclosure and other property tax laws that would help counties fairly raise revenue from sources other than residential property taxes during the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature and to make it a top priority; and to explore participation in other coalitions supporting property tax reform in Texas.”

    By passing this resolution, the County Commissioners of El Paso are showing real leadership and ensuring that the voice of homeowners and communities is part of the debate in Austin during the 84th session.

    Across the state, homeowners continue to bear an unfair burden while the largest commercial properties in the state only effectively pay taxes on about 60 percent of the actual value of their buildings.

    Supporters, including homeowners Patricia Delgado, Aurolyn Luykx, and Irma Cruz, along with Eric Murillo – Comité de Justicia Laboral, Jose Escobedo – Border Network for Human Rights, Joseph Ozar – Border Interfaith, and SEIU Texas, and Julie Rogers – National Nurses Organizing Committee  – Texas spoke in support of the resolution.

    This is an issue that affects all types of Texans.  Reform would help to support the very services residents rely on and hold commercial property tax payers accountable to paying their fair share.

    If you are interested in advocating for a property tax reform resolution in your city or county, download a copy of the sample resolution and start by contacting your local elected officials.

    We can have Real Values for Texas.

    View news coverage of the vote:
     Se une Condado de El Paso a petición de reforma tributariaphoto 5 (2)
    Juliana Henao
    El Diario de El Paso | Lunes 10 Noviembre 2014

    El Paso County Commissioners Court adopts resolution in favor of a property tax reform in Texas
    By Aileen B. Flores
    El Paso Times | November 10, 2014

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  • Austin Chronicle’s Best Of!
    Austin Chronicle’s Best Of!
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    You read that right!

    We’ve won the award for 2014 Best Grassroots Campaign to Hit Home from the Austin Chronicle! Thank you for recognizing our efforts. Great job everyone who has worked hard on this campaign.

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  • September 16, 2014
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    Over the last month, the coalition of groups that make up Real Values for Texas have been working hard to spread the word about the need for property tax reform. Our work is paying off.

    In fact, Real Values for Texas was recently awarded Austin Chronicle’s Best Grassroots Campaign to Hit Home. Local Austinites are making sure their voices are heard about the need for local and state reform.

    On August 21, the Houston Community College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to make property tax reform a legislative priority in its 84th session. They are the first community college to make property tax reform a legislative priority this session.

    The Houston Chronicle, on September 7, published a story highlighting how current property tax loopholes are forcing Texas schools to pay big oil a “tax refund” after companies sue to lower their appraised value. On September 8, the Chronicle, in an editorial, called for the legislature to close those loopholes and require commercial properties to be assessed at fair-market value.

    In August, in Waco Texas, the Waco Tribune highlighted City Council’s efforts to close the loopholes locally by writing a “clawback provision” into agreements that make it less economical for companies to dispute their property tax appraisals.

    Over in Dallas, the Dallas Country Club is suing the Central Appraisal District for an “unfair” appraisal.

    It’s time for real values for Texas!  

    Looking to stay in the loop? Join our email list.


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  • Property Tax Reform A Legislative Priority for Houston Community College
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    On August 21, 2014, HCC Board of Trustees Passed The Following Language:

    “The accuracy of tax valuations and appraisals is essential to ensuring a taxing authorities’ capability of delivering crucial services to the community. Importantly, recent findings suggest that commercial property tax valuations are unreliable statewide, resulting in substantial tax revenue losses that adversely impact schools, libraries, hospitals, community colleges and other taxing authorities, which depend upon a fair and reliable system to generate revenue that helps deliver necessary services in our respective communities and throughout the state of Texas. In light of this circumstance, property tax reform is a matter deserving meaningful consideration for all Texans.”

    The Houston Community College Board of Trustees provided a great service for its students and the community when it made property tax reform a legislative priority in its 84th session.

    By doing so, the Board is helping to create a fair playing field for homeowners and commercial property owners while helping to support the programs students at Houston Community College rely on for a successful future.

    Across the state, homeowners are bearing the burden when the largest commercial properties in the state only effectively pay taxes on about 60 percent of the actual value of their buildings, even though state property tax law states that all properties in Texas are supposed be taxed at 100% of their market value.

    Houston Community College is the first community college to make property tax reform a legislative priority this session. We are encouraged to see leadership from the Board of Trustees, as Real Values for Texas partners continue to educate the public and our elected officials about the need for property tax reform.

    Want to stay abreast of what’s happening to support property tax reform? Check back soon and make sure to like us on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • August 14, 2014
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    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.”


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  • July 31, 2014
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    Included is an update from the last few weeks on property tax fairness and the Real Values for Texas campaign. 

    On June 13th, dozens of homeowners and community members waited anxiously until 3:30 a.m., but luckily not in vain. In an unprecedented move, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to investigate commercial property valuations and to gear up to challenge them next year. (Austin American-Statesman)

    On June 27th, property tax was on the mind of many who attended the Texas Democratic Convention in Dallas. Democratic Comptroller nominee Mike Collier, Travis County Commissioner-Elect Brigid Shea, and Real Values for Texas hosted a session to discuss how the current property tax system is rigged to burden homeowners and deprive communities of vital public services. (Breitbart)

    Democrats are not alone, though. Libertarian Comptroller candidate, Ben Sanders echoed a similar concern regarding commercial property appraisals in TribTalk on July 6th:

    Third, we should mandate price disclosure on commercial property to enable “apples to apples” evaluation. This will allow citizens to see how much tax corporations are paying, providing a much-needed check and balance on the property tax system.”

    On July 9th, Senator Sylvia Garcia highlighted the growing momentum she has witnessed across the state over the past year for property tax reform in the Houston Chronicle. She also explained that:

    “And the solution is not to abolish the property tax and raise the sales tax as some have suggested. That would only increase our reliance on one form of tax revenue that already disproportionately impacts low-income individuals. Instead, what we need is to reform our property tax system in a manner that is fair and transparent for all Texans.”

    On July 18th, Democratic Comptroller nominee Mike Collier and Travis County Commissioner-Elect Brigid Shea held a press conference and a townhall meeting in Austin about how homeowners and local communities shoulder an unfair burden when large commercial property owners manipulate the property tax system. The discussion was broadcasted live and folks around the state participated via the#TxFairTax hashtag on Twitter. Hopefully the Republicans will start talking about the issue soon as well! (Burnt Orange ReportAustin Chronicle)

    Since our last update, Harris County has decided to drop the formal challenge to HCAD’s appraisal of vacant commercial land. Instead, on July 22nd, both parties reached an information-sharing agreement where HCAD will share the independent study they commissioned and nonconfidential sales data for vacant commercial lots on an ongoing basis. (Houston Chronicle)

    As more and more conversations take place about property tax reform, one result is that a variety of approaches to solutions are emerging.

    On July 25th, Michael King of the Austin Chronicle highlighted the unintended consequences of a possible Prop 13 type of solution for appraisal caps, which in California “resulted in the undermining of the state budget and the devastation of what was once the best public school and higher education system in the country.” Additionally, Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler from the Travis County Appraisal District offered 14 wide-ranging solution proposals in a briefing earlier this month. (Austin American-Statesman).

    As the conversation expands and the movement for Real Values for Texas grows, stay tuned for more updates and highlights from around the state.


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