Austin – At another bill signing today, Governor Greg Abbott said that the property tax measure the House passed Saturday was not strong enough, stating, “I want to see the rate rollback part of property taxes achieved.” The Texas House yesterday approved Senate Bill 669 by Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) as amended with public notice, transparency and tools for taxpayers to be able to protest their values. The amended bill included useful taxpayer tools and protections for appraisal processes; however, none of the rate rollback provisions or automatic election provisions that exist now for school districts were placed in the bill for cities, counties or special districts. In addition, the House Speaker and Parliamentarian ruled on a Point of Order that these provisions would not be germane to SB 669.
“Without Senate Bill 2 as passed by the Senate being considered by the full House, there will be no property tax relief coming out of the 85th Regular Session,” said Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), the author of SB 2. “Many of the items that the House voted on yesterday like SB 669, the committee substitute for SB 2, HB 15, and many other bills already existed as standalone bills in the Senate that have already been passed by the Texas Senate. While these are useful transparency and taxpayer tools, they are not property tax relief.”
If the House is to consider SB 2 in the 85th General Session, the House Calendars Committee will have to set the bill for today for a vote no later than second reading on Tuesday.
“Senate Bill 2 was based upon 50 hours of public testimony from taxpayers around the state that show multiple years of double digit increases in property tax bills on homes and businesses, with another year coming of strong value increases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and on the IH35 corridor and in other jurisdictions around the state of Texas,” Senator Bettencourt stated. “If appraised values go up and tax rates don’t come down, then homeowners and business owners continue to be put at risk of ever-rising tax bills. This problem is not going away,” he added. “We should get a vote on rollback and automatic election provisions in the 85th Regular Session as Texas taxpayers are hoping we are not done yet.”
“The governor said we still have more work to do on property taxes. I concur with that!” concluded Senator Bettencourt.