Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Glenn Hegar, District 18

For Immediate Release
January 31, 2007
Contact: Lisa Craven
(512) 463-0118

Senator Hegar Files Package of Property Tax Reform Legislation

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) -- Senator Glenn Hegar has filed a package of tax reform bills aimed at reigning in skyrocketing property tax appraisals.

Last week the Tax Commission set forth several recommendations to address the rapid rise in property taxes and prevent the state from passing along unfunded mandates to local governments. Senator Hegar noted that his package of legislation is designed to provide relief to the average property tax payer and to set forth additional solutions to the very serious problem many Texans face of not being able to keep up with their property tax bills.

"The bills filed today represent the latest in my continuing effort to solve one of our state's greatest problems--the rapid rise in property taxes. My firm belief is that Texas must continue to lower property taxes; otherwise we will ultimately see our state's economy negatively impacted by escalating property taxes," stated Senator Hegar.

Senate Bill 391(SB 391) limits the maximum percentage of increase in appraised value. "The intent of this legislation is to put an end to taxpayers receiving a tax bill that has increased by up to 30% in a single year. Even though current law only allows for the taxable value of a property to increase by a maximum of 10% annually, we have situations in which a property has not been appraised for three years. In these cases the taxable value can increase by 30% in a given year rather than 10%", Senator Hegar stated. "In my experience most tax payers cannot sustain a 10% increase a year in their property taxes, much less 30%. I firmly believe that we should not have 30% increases and SB 391 will ensure that these types of increases no longer happen in the State of Texas."

Another part of Senator Hegar's package is SB 390, which would institute a temporary prohibition on the increase in appraised value of a residence following a successful protest or appeal. "I have heard from hundreds of constituents who have successfully protested an appraised value one year, only to be faced with the same situation the next year", Senator Hegar explained. "I have personal experience in protesting a property appraisal. Though I succeeded in having the taxable value of the property reduced, the following year the taxable value was raised again. For three consecutive years I protested the value of a property and successfully had the value reduced. Each time the value was again raised the next year. In my opinion, forcing citizens to protest their appraisal every year is unfair, as well as a waste of taxpayer time and money."

SB 391 would also require a Constitutional Amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 17) which would be voted on by all Texans if the Legislature successfully passes both SB 391 and SJR 17. The Constitutional Amendment would appear on the November 6, 2007 ballot and would read "The constitutional amendment providing that a limit on the maximum percentage increase in the appraised value of a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes established by the legislature applies regardless of the number of years since the most recent tax appraisal."

"Saving taxpayers money and making sure that the appraisal process is fair and balanced are my goals in filing this legislation", Senator Hegar stated. "Taxpayers across the entire State of Texas have struggled with these issues. As we work towards common sense solutions, I hope to be a voice for the property taxpayers of Texas who have carried the burden for far too long. "