Senate Finance Committee Hears Testimony on Property Taxes in Texas
AUSTIN - The Senate Finance Committee met today, April 26th, 2004, to hear testimony on the structure and state of property taxes in Texas. Property taxes are the primary source of funding for the state education system. Under state law, ad valorem tax rates are capped at $1.50 per $100 valuation, a level most municipalities in the state have already reached. In order to remedy the state's school finance crisis, Governor Perry feels the state must not only overhaul the state's property tax assessment system, but find additional tax revenue for education without increasing the burden on property owners.
Bill Alloway, president of the Texas Taxpayer and Research Association, testified before the Finance committee that property taxes in the state are among the highest in the country, up to 200% higher than in other states . Alloway added that high property taxes inhibit economic growth within the state.
Since all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives, Senators cannot author or debate any kind of legislation, until a school finance reform bill arrives from the House. The finance reform bill must first be approved by the House and then the Senate Finance Committee before it can come to the Senate floor for a vote.
The Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Senator Steve Ogden and Vice-chaired by Senator Judith Zaffirini. The sitting members of the committee are Senators Kip Averitt, Royce West, Kyle Janek, Todd Staples, Jane Nelson, Tommy Williams, Kim Brimer, Bob Deuell, Robert Duncan, Gonzalo Barrientos, Florence Shapiro, John Whitmire and Eliot Shapleigh.