From the Office of State Senator Glenn Hegar, District 18

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2009
Contact: Lisa Craven
(512) 463-0118

Senator Glenn Hegar Responds to Attacks on Propositions 2, 3, & 5

Senator Glenn Hegar rebuked today the unfair and politically motivated misinformation campaign that has cropped up against Propositions 2, 3, and 5 -- constitutional amendments that will protect Texas homeowners and their hard-earned wages. These attacks were launched on the eve of the fast approaching November 3rd election in which Texas voters will elect to vote up or down eleven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution.

"When I came to Austin as a state representative in 2003, one of the strong beliefs I brought with me was that there is a critical need to institute more fairness in property tax law," said Senator Hegar, "Like so many other Texans, I have been forced to take time away from my profession and family to appeal unjustifiable property tax increases. In an effort to remove this unfair burden for all hardworking Texas property owners, every session I carry and support legislation to institute greater fairness and deference to Texas homeowners in the property tax system. I was proud to support Propositions 2, 3, and 5 because they will deliver much needed property tax reforms."

Propositions 2, 3 and 5 resulted from the careful work of a legislative committee charged solely with studying the property tax appraisal system. The committee called on both experts familiar with the appraisal process and on those most directly affected, the homeowners themselves, to recount their experiences so that they might gain a clear understanding of the reforms needed to right the inequities and shortcomings of an imperfect system. After hearing from hundreds and conducting a series of public meetings across the state, committee members built on the wealth of information they had accumulated and created what would eventually become Propositions 2, 3, and 5.

Together, these three propositions will protect against runaway residential appraisals, improve appraisal equity statewide, and streamline the functions of appraisal district appeal operations. Misleading and inaccurate information has unfortunately found its way to the ears of some voters, casting doubt on the effectiveness of these proposals and even worse, giving the impression that these measures will work against the interests of hardworking Texas property owners. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here are the facts:

PROPOSITION 2 requires that the property tax of a residential homestead be based solely on the property's value as a residence homestead, and not on the "highest and best use." Appraisals based on "highest and best use" result in inequitable comparisons with commercial and business properties. Proposition 2 would do away with this unfair comparison that sometimes results in drastically increased appraisals and tax obligations. In the simplest terms, it ensures an apples to apples comparison, so that homeowners are not forced to pay commercial taxes for residential properties. Proposition 2 was the victim of particularly misleading information that indicated its passage would implement a new tax on homesteads, a wholly untrue statement easily disproved when one considers the specific constitutional prohibition on such a tax.

PROPOSITION 3 provides that uniform property tax appraisal standards and procedures shall be used by all of the state's county appraisal districts. Currently, property tax appraisal practices and procedures vary widely from district to district. Proposition 3 will help to ensure equitable treatment for all property owners by providing that all taxable property be appraised in the same manner, no matter the district such property resides in.

PROPOSITION 5 makes it easier to form appraisal review boards for protest hearings by allowing two or more adjoining county property tax appraisal districts, if they so choose, to consolidate appraisal review board functions. The voluntary ability to consolidate smaller county appraisal review boards is designed to ease property owners' resolution of their property tax appraisal protests and more quickly navigate the process, especially in rural Texas.

"I always try to provide district residents with an objective summary of the upcoming constitutional amendments so voters are able to assess the facts and make their own determinations, but I believe strongly in these reforms," concluded Senator Hegar.

Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. Senate District 18 contains over one-third of the Texas coastline. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800's. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.

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