Legislative Liaison:First hearing on Senate’s property tax bill
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Written By: TAR

Quick hits

  • Text txrealtors to 30644 to receive REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts
  • See TAR’s legislative priorities at texasrealestate.com/issues
  • Save the date: REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol, April 4 (add to your calendar)
  • Got a question about one of TAR’s legislative positions, the lawmaking process, or something you read in Liaison? Just ask! (Not all questions can be answered, and submissions may be edited for clarity and length.)

In this edition …

This edition of Legislative Liaison covers the status of the Senate’s property tax reform bill and what’s next for House’s school finance reform bill, plus a sampling of what’s happening at the Legislature next week and updates to HiddenPropertyTax.com you’ll want to share.

Senate’s property tax reform bill moves forward

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee heard several bills related to property taxes, but it was Sen. Paul Bettencourt’s Senate Bill 2 that took center stage. (SB 2 seeks to reform property taxes by focusing largely on changes to the appraisal process.)

The committee heard public testimony into the late hours Tuesday night, including testimony from the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

TAR testified as neutral on SB 2, as there are provisions TAR supports and provisions that are concerning.

The testimony explained that TAR supports SB 2’s efforts to inform taxpayers and involve them in the tax rate setting process; however, TAR does not support the provision in SB 2 requiring members of an appraisal district’s board of directors to be elected officials.

Senate Finance approved a committee substitute bill from Sen. Bettencourt that revised some of SB 2’s initial provisions. Then, shortly before midnight, the committee voted to approve an amendment from Sen. Joan Huffman that raised the rollback rate in SB 2 from 4% to 5%.

SB 2 would now require all local taxing entities to lower their rollback rate from the current 8% to 5% and would require an automatic rollback election for all local taxing entities that propose tax rates in excess of the rollback rate.

The committee voted 9-5 in favor of the bill ... and moved it along to the full Senate.

Read more in The Texas Tribune.

Discussion continues on House’s school finance bill

Also on Tuesday, the House Public Education Committee continued hearing testimony on House Bill 21, Committee Chairman Dan Huberty’s bill to reform the school finance system.

As a reminder from last week’s Liaison, HB 21 would ...

  • Add $1.6 billion into the state’s public school finance system
  • Increase basic funding for almost all school districts from $5,140 to $5,350 per student per year
  • Lower payments that property-wealthy districts pay to the state to subsidize property-poor districts by $163 million in 2018 and $192 million in 2019, by Huberty’s estimate.

During the hearing, Huberty reiterated his previous comments that the bill doesn’t fix the system, but it’s a good first step. The bill remains pending in the committee.

Read more in the Houston Chronicle.

On the agenda next week …

Here are just a few of the real estate-related bills being heard in committees next week. See the full committee schedules on the Senate and House websites.

Monday, March 20

Tuesday, March 21

Wednesday, March 22

  • 8 a.m., House Ways and Means will hear several property tax bills, including HB 382, which would exempt property tax for real property leased to and used by certain schools, and HB 513, related to reappraisal of property damaged in a disaster.
  • 10:30 a.m., House Defense and Veteran’s Affairs’ agenda includes HB 890, relating to providing information to the public and to purchasers of real property regarding the impact of military installations.

Thursday, March 23

  • 7:30 a.m., House Appropriations will hear invited testimony on HB 2, the supplemental appropriations bill.

Updates to HiddenPropertyTax.com

We’ve added a few new features to HiddenPropertyTax.com as we continue to educate consumers about the property tax process through our Hidden Property Tax campaign.

The site’s popular Appraisal Lookup that enables users to view their appraisal and tax liability history has been updated with information for several counties.

Now visitors can look up properties in Bell, Bexar, Brazoria, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Harris, Hidalgo, Tarrant, and Travis counties ... with even more counties coming soon.

In addition, the Appraisal Lookup now displays appraisal and tax liability history on easy-to-read graphs. Visitors can see at a glance how much their property’s appraised value and tax liability have changed in the past few years.

Encourage your clients to visit HiddenPropertyTax.com to learn more about the property tax process.  

See you in Austin on April 4

REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol is less than three weeks away. Here are three ways to prepare to meet with your lawmakers:

  • Contact your local association to participate. Many local associations charter buses to make the trip to Austin, so you’ll need to get on their list.
  • Visit TexasRealEstate.com/RealtorDay to review best practices for meeting with legislators.
  • RSVP to the Facebook event to tell your friends you’re coming to Austin to advocate for Texas real estate and private property rights (… just remember to formally register with your local association, too).

About the Author:
The Texas Association of REALTORS® was established in 1920, and at 90,000 members strong is the largest professional membership association in Texas. With over 60 employees, and 89 local associations of REALTORS®, TAR is here to be the voice o real estate in Texas. The mission of the Texas Association of REALTORS is to promote and protect private-property ownership and rights, advocate for Texas REALTORS® and property owners and to keep homeownership affordable. While licensed real estate agents and brokers in Texas must follow state laws. Agents and brokers who join the Texas Association of REALTORS® also pledge to follow a higher set of standards—the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.


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