From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
January 29, 2007

Contact: Court Koenning (512) 463-0107 / (713) 876-4444


"If we want to abdicate our responsibility on spending caps to the voters lets do the same for appraisal caps"

AUSTIN -- This morning, Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) filed two bills dealing with a reduction of appraisal caps for residential homes. The first bill SB 348 (with SJR 15) would create an appraisal cap for non-homestead residential property. Currently, Texans with second homes either for recreation, investment or for their retirement are not protected by the current 10% appraisal cap. Should SB 348 and its accompanying constitutional amendment pass and voters approve; appraisals for non-homestead residential properties would also be capped at a 10% annual increase.

Patrick also filed SB 347 (with SJR 14) to lower the appraisal cap on homestead residences. SB 347 would lower the appraisal cap for homestead residential properties from the current 10% to an annual increase of 3%.

In a related story, Sen. Patrick announced he would vote against an effort to break the constitutional spending cap. Moreover, his statement addresses the plan to relinquish to the voters the Legislature's responsibility to vote on such a measure:

"While in the district this weekend, I reviewed emails from my Senatorial Board, heard from my radio audience and talked to concerned citizens. An overwhelming majority were adamantly opposed to the option of voting to bust the Constitutional spending cap. I was elected based in large part to my message of fiscal responsibility in the face of historic budget surpluses. I can't, in good conscience, turn my back on my principals and my promises in an attempt to authorize this government to spend more than the Texas Constitution allows."

"The people I talked to fully understood that such a vote might mean the promised property tax relief may not be fully realized. However, to them and to me, a fiscally responsible state government is more important than the property tax relief that has been promised to them. Furthermore, we understand that if our government cannot live within the constitutional spending requirements with huge surpluses; when will they."

"However, some have offered a compromise. That compromise would be for the Legislature to allow the voters to decide if the spending cap needs to be broken. While I disagree with that approach, should we want to abdicate our responsibility on spending caps to the voters let us do the same for appraisal caps.

"For three sessions now, our opponents said they knew better than we about the effect of reduced appraisal caps. Now, some of those same folks think the voters know better if the Legislature should bust the Constitutional spending cap. I don't want to be a hypocrite, so I say let the voters decide on both or let them decide on neither."