Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

May 13, 2005
Contact: Lauren Hutton (512) 463-0104

Tommy Williams' Property Tax Accountability Act passes the Senate

AUSTIN -- Texans would have increased opportunity to protest property tax rate hikes at two public hearings under SB 18, The Property Tax Accountability Act, which passed the Senate Thursday, May 12.

The bill, authored by State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, also imposes stricter disclosure requirements when Texas cities or counties propose tax rate increases. Current law requires taxing entities to give notice and hold hearings if property taxes rise more than 3 percent. SB 18 calls for notice and hearings for any increase.

"I want taxing jurisdictions to know if they collect one penny more than the year before, they need to give notice to taxpayers," he said. "Cities and counties are not going to have the 2.99 percent free ride they had in the past."

Under current law, taxpayers can call a rollback election with a petition signed by 10 percent of registered voters in the district. The bill drops the signature requirement to 7 percent of voters for taxing entities bringing in more than $5 million in taxes each year. The threshold for petitioning the rollback rate would remain at 8 percent. Williams said while the Property Tax Accountability Act gives taxpayers more control over their property tax rates, he recognizes the need for relief from appraisal increases.

"Texas taxpayers deserve accountability and have suffered too long under creeping appraisals and rising revenues," Williams said. "It's time our taxing jurisdictions answer to the taxpayers."

First elected in 1996 to the Texas House of Representatives, Tommy Williams was later elected to the Senate in 2002 and re-elected in 2004. He represents Senate District 4, covering all or portions of Montgomery, Harris, Liberty, Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties. Williams serves as Vice Chairman of the State Affairs Committee and as a member of the Senate Criminal Justice, Education and Finance committees.