From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
November 12, 2008

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


Houston State Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Dwayne Bohac filed legislation today to limit the increase of property tax appraisals by requiring biennial reappraisals of homestead property.

“By limiting the frequency of reappraisals we can effectively slow the increase in the appraised value of homesteads,” Bohac said. “The Texas Constitution gives the Legislature great leeway in this area, and we believe that HB 209 and SB 276 are the appropriate solution to the problem of skyrocketing appraisals.”

Patrick and Bohac agree that out-of-control appraisals hurt their constituents in Harris County and across the state by taxing families and seniors out of their homes.

"Local and state governments of Texas have grown far too dependent on property tax revenues," said Patrick. "This legislation will pull back the reigns on government entities that force appraisals higher every year in spite of fair market realities."

Legislation passed in 2007 and ratified by voters in November of that year limited the ability of appraisal districts to raise a homeowner’s appraisal by no more than 10 percent from the preceding tax year. 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 reappraisals to a minimum of every two years, thereby having the practical effect of a five percent appraisal cap.

"By my calculations a $100,000 home under current law that experiences a 10 percent increase in value a year will have an appraised value of $194,871 in seven years--almost double," Bohac said. "Under our plan, that same $100,000 home experiencing the same increase in value will have a appraised value of $133,100--a difference of $61,771."

By slowing the rate of growth of a homestead's appraised value taxpayers bills will be lower and more predictable. Under a five percent appraisal cap, the same house would have a taxable value of $140,710 saving that taxpayer $7,610 of taxable value.

“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.”