Jim Allison, general counsel to the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas (CJCAT), is urging counties with oil and gas properties to contact sponsors of bills that would correct a 2007 law that has caused under-valuation of oil and gas properties.
“Under the 2007 change in the Tax Code, the comptroller produces a ‘forecast’ of the estimated price of oil and gas for the coming year,” Allison wrote in a bulletin to county judges and commissioners. “That estimate is required to be used by the appraisal district in determining the value of oil and gas properties.
“During the past three years, the comptroller has produced an estimated forecast for oil prices that has averaged approximately 35 percent below the actual market price. This has resulted in the under-valuation of those properties and forced counties to either shift this burden to other taxpayers by increasing the tax rate or reduce the budget and services.
“Public education has lost over $1 billion in revenues due to this under-valuation,” Allison noted. Lost revenue for schools may concern legislators trying to wrestle with a possible $27 billion shortfall.
“During the last session, Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), Rep. Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa) and other legislators attempted to correct this language in the Tax Code,” Allison continued. “With opposition from the industry, their bill did not make it. They are willing to try again. However, they need to hear from your county if you still consider this to be an important issue.”
Lewis has filed HB 889 to correct the under-valuations. It has been referred to House Ways and Means, but no hearing has been set. Uresti is expected to file the Senate version shortly, so now is an opportune time to contact him.
Allison asks that concerned county officials send e-mails or faxes to Uresti (; fax: (512) 463-1017) and Lewis (; fax: (512) 463-8067) to show them that you consider the reforms a priority matter.
Affected counties should also contact their own legislators, urging them to support Uresti and Lewis so that the reforms do become a priority item during a very crowded legislative session.
Allison concluded with a request to communicate with legislators as soon as possible since legislative priorities will be set soon. If you e-mail or fax on this matter, please send copies to Jim Allison, general counsel, County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas (; fax (512) 480-0902) and Aurora Flores in the TAC Legislative Department (; fax (512) 478-0519).