From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2008

Contact: Logan Spence (512) 463-0107

Senator Patrick renews his promise to move Texas away from property tax reliance.

AUSTIN – Yesterday was the first day that homeowners began receiving their property tax bills and those affected by the hurricane are not exempt.

Senator Dan Patrick applauds the efforts of Senator Jackson and Representative Zerwas, as well as Senate District 17 candidate Austen Furse, to push for a reappraisal of property affected by Hurricane Ike.

"I join these leaders in pushing for a reappraisal and I hope that it can be accomplished," said Senate Patrick, "but this situation is only a symptom of our bigger problem: Texas' over dependence on property taxes."

Current law requires each taxing entity to request a reappraisal before their tax levy can be reduced. The likelihood of the 500 taxing entities in Harris County making that request is low because it will basically lower their revenue. Even if the reappraisal does occur, the tax levy will only be reduced for the time period after the hurricane to the end of the year.

"Our continued reliance on property taxes and the legislature's failure to protect voters from unfair property appraisal is going to result in tax bills arriving in mailboxes at homes that no longer exist," lamented Patrick. This injustice will be most keenly felt in Galveston which has yet to seek or administer a reappraisal. However, the damage is not just limited to the coastal areas. Homes from Clear Lake to Tomball have lost significant value due to hurricane damage.

Texas is ranked 27 by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, which compares the property tax burden levied on the citizens of each state. "Texas is a low tax state except for property taxes, which is the worst of all taxes to depend upon," said Patrick. "Discouraging home ownership through a bewildering labyrinth of tax provisions is rapidly leading Texans to revolt."

Senator Patrick is currently working with other state legislators to develop a strategy that will lower property taxes by reforming sales taxes. Sales tax is the most transparent, broad-based and fair tax system available. Senator Patrick's goal is to develop a property/sales tax swap that will guarantee long term property tax relief without negatively impacting Texans' wallet.