For years, no one believed that any responsible property tax reform could pass the legislature in Texas. But after more than a year of campaigning from Houston to San Antonio and El Paso to Austin, Real Values for Texas is shaking those assumptions.
The State Legislature Takes a Step Toward Reform
On Saturday, May 23, Governor Abbott signed HB 2083 into law. The legislation doesn’t solve our property tax inequities, but now accepted standard appraisal methods and techniques have to be used, and that is a step forward.
The bill, introduced by Representative Darby, was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee. Once in committee, the state’s cottage industry of tax consultants and real estate speculators pushed to include language that would specifically allow property owners to use comparable properties outside the county when appealing their property taxes. That would have meant that an H.E.B protesting its taxes in thriving Dallas could compare their property valuation to a grocery store in struggling Detroit. Without the hard work of Real Values for Texas supporters, homeowners and community allies, the committee would have accepted this change and made our broken property tax system worse.
While this legislation is a victory, comprehensive reform must go farther. For a fair, transparent and effective property tax system to exist in Texas, the state must pass legislation that:
- Ensures property tax appeals be based on market value;
- Requires that owners of large commercial properties disclose sales price;
- Closes loopholes that allow and incentivize manipulation of the appraisal and protest system; this includes ending excessive attorney/tax consultant fees and increasing protest review time for appraisal districts.