From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
August 19, 2008

Contact: Logan Spence (512) 463-0107
Patrick Gurski (512) 463-0727

Houston legislators propose innovative property appraisal reform
Results in a 5% appraisal cap that lowers property tax bills

HOUSTON - Houston State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) will present a plan to address skyrocketing property tax bills to the Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform which meets today in Houston at the Lone Star College in Tomball.

Both Patrick and Bohac plan to introduce a number of bills next session addressing appraisal reform. One measure will be presented for the first time at Monday's meeting. The bill calls for homesteads to be reappraised every two years rather than every year.

"Sen. Patrick and I have been fighting for appraisal cap reform for quite some time, and I think we've come up with an innovative solution that requires a simple majority vote in both the House and the Senate," Bohac said. "Our obstacle in previous sessions to solving this problem has been the necessity for a super majority in order to pass significant appraisal reform. We've figured out a way around that."

Legislation passed in 2007 and ratified by voters in November of that year limits the ability of appraisal districts to raise a homeowner's appraisal by more than 10 percent from one appraisal period to the next. Therefore, if a house is reappraised after 3 years, it can only go up by a maximum of 10 percent. Prior law would have allowed that same house to go up by 30 percent, because the 10 percent cap was cumulative.

The Bohac-Patrick Plan will limit, by law, homestead appraisals to a minimum of every two years, thereby having the practical effect of a 5 percent appraisal cap.

"Rep. Bohac has been a champion in the Texas House for appraisal reform and I look forward to working with him on this critical issue," Patrick said. "The people have demanded a reduction in appraisal caps. The legislature has failed to act. It is time to give homeowners the long term and permanent property tax relief that they deserve."

"This is a very sensible solution to the problem that we have in this state of skyrocketing appraisals," Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt said. "The bill proposed by Rep. Bohac and Sen. Patrick is a great step forward for taxpayers in Texas."