Senate Bill Shown to Save Local Taxpayers $100 Million

AUSTIN – The Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief, which is chaired by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), has taken 37 hours of testimony in cities across Texas this year, demonstrating the need for new statewide property tax reform and relief measures. One such piece of legislation, SB 1760, passed during the 2015 legislative session, was authored by fellow property tax committee member Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and amended by Sen. Bettencourt to require a super-majority, 60 percent voting threshold for local taxing units to assess property tax increases in their jurisdictions.

“Last session, I authored Senate Bill 1760 to continue my priority, as a fiscal conservative, to look out for Texas taxpayers,” Sen. Creighton said. “The recent vote by Dallas ISD, and subsequent victory for taxpayers, demonstrates why this bill was so important. The law was passed to further protect Texas citizens by requiring a super-majority vote, instead of a simple majority vote in order to raise taxes. $100 million is real money saved, proving Texas state government does bring real results.”

The amended bill last week stopped a $100 million proposed tax increase for Dallas ISD. The proposed 13-cent tax rate hike motion had a simple majority, 5-4 vote in favor of it, but failed to get the 6-3 super-majority vote necessary to enact the tax ratification election, subject to voter approval.

“Dallas ISD taxpayers got the protection they deserve against paying ever-increasing property tax bills,” Sen. Bettencourt said. “The proposed 13-cent tax rate hike on top of an estimated 12.2 percent countywide appraised value increase would have been a blockbuster property tax bill to receive. Thankfully, Dallas taxpayers won’t receive such a shocking 2016 property tax bill now.”

“Stopping a $100 million dollar tax increase will be a record that will stand for some time,” the Houston senator added.

Sen. Bettencourt is the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief. The select committee has held hearings throughout Texas to listen to testimony about the property tax process and recommend ways to reduce the tax burden on property owners. The committee plans to release its legislative report later this year. Archived broadcasts of the select committee’s 2016 hearings can be accessed online.