Gov. Perry Ceremonially Signs House Bills 8 and 3613
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you all for being here on a beautiful Houston day.
It's nice to be here with Representatives John Otto and Kino Flores, and Senators Tommy Williams and Dan Patrick.
Let me tell you, these folks get it done up in Austin.
I also want to thank Vicki Fullerton and the Houston Association of Realtors for hosting us here today.
I'm glad you're joining me here today as I put pen to paper and continue protecting the rights of Texas property owners, while fighting the syndrome known as appraisal creep.
You might recall that we secured a $15.5 billion tax cut for Texas property owners back in 2006, but have seen much of that achievement whittled away by local authorities raising appraisals without restraint.
As the legislative session began, I called on members of the House and Senate to continue our efforts to reform our appraisal system.
It is unfair that Texans keep getting stuck with higher and higher taxes as local authorities answer tax cuts with inflated appraisals in what equates to a high-stakes shell game.
Our concern is driven by the fact that property taxes are not just an economic issue, they directly affect the essential Texas value of property ownership and the individual rights that go with it.
That is why we have continually worked to improve our property tax system, placing our faith in the proven tools of greater transparency, increased accountability, and tight reins on government growth at every level.
In times of global economic turmoil, it is more important than ever to protect working families from an undue property tax burden.
I believe these bills will improve those vital protections by setting a more uniform standard for appraisals and slowing their steady increase across the state.
House Bill 8 attempts to slow this pressure in a fairly simple way by doubling the time between the Property Value Studies that Central Appraisal Districts have typically conducted on a yearly basis.
This bill also gives the Comptroller increased oversight of Central Appraisal Districts including a biannual review of appraisal standards which should move us closer to a standardized statewide approach.
House Bill 3613 also improves standardization by requiring the appraised value of a house to reflect only its value as a home and not some other use, like a commercial venture.
This bill also strengthens our support for Texas veterans by granting a homestead exception for the total value of a home owned by 100-percent-disabled veterans.
This sends a strong message of thanks to our veterans and provides an essential degree of protection for those who are living on a fixed income because their service-related disability makes it impossible for them to work.
This is a small, but important way for Texas to thank these veterans, whose lives have been changed forever, while defending the freedom we enjoy.
I would now like to introduce REP John Otto who has a few words to say about these two bills.
You might not know this, but John chaired the Select Committee on Property Taxes and Appraisal Reform, and which took its show on the road for several months, listening to the concerns of Texas property owners and crafted this legislation in response.
Texans spoke, John listened and now we're moving forward with changes. Boy, I love it when the system works. John?
Thank you, John. Next, I would like to introduce SEN Tommy Williams who carried this bill to passage in the Senate. Tommy?
Thank you both for your support of these bills that will help protect Texas homeowners from skyrocketing appraisals.
Here's hoping the next session features even more progress on this front.
Now, let's sign these bills.
We'd be happy now to take questions on these bills from members of the working press here with us today.