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Senate Property Tax Reform Committee Issues Report and Legislation

The Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief issued its interim report on property taxes and the property tax system. Senate Bill 2 has also been filed which reflects the recommendations of the interim report.

Although the state of Texas has the 41st lowest tax burden in the nation, the committee determined that an arbitrary and flawed standard of comparing median household income to the growth in the rate of county and city tax levies is adequate justification for lowering the revenue cap from its current 8 percent to 4 percent. Such a move would concentrate more power in Austin, to the detriment of locally-elected officials’ ability to serve their constituents.

Local officials across the state testified to the committee that lowering the revenue cap will tie the hands of local government, stymying their efforts to build infrastructure and provide essential services for local communities. The evidence of this testimony from local officials is conspicuously absent from the interim report as issued. Learn about concerns that that local officials have expressed regarding lower revenue caps.

The general recommendations of the committee's report are summarized  as follows:

  1. The Legislature should consider  repealing the current petition driven rollback process.
  2. The Legislature should consider replacing the existing rollback process with one that requires automatic tax ratification elections held on the uniform election date and locations in November if a taxing unit exceeds the ratification tax rate.
  3. The Legislature should consider reducing the 8 percent growth limit in the rollback tax rate calculations to a 4 percent or lower amount more in line with Texans’ ability to pay.
  4. The Legislature should consider simplifying the calculations used to generate the rollback tax rate as well as the other calculations that are used in the Truth in Taxation process.
  5. The Legislature should consider simplifying and adjusting the tax year calendar to make it more favorable to the citizenry and government and in alignment with the requirements of the Elections Code.