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Perry Creates Texas Task Force on Appraisal Reform

Location: Dallas, TX

Perry Creates Texas Task Force on Appraisal Reform

Panel to Recommend How to Curtail Skyrocketing Appraisals

DALLAS - Gov. Rick Perry announced today that he is creating the Texas Task Force on Appraisal Reform (TFAR) to study and make recommendations on how to address Texans' continuing concerns over skyrocketing property appraisals. He appointed Tom Pauken of Dallas to chair the advisory group.

"Earlier this year, we provided Texas property owners with the largest property tax cut in state history - a 33 percent reduction in their school property tax rates over the next two years," Perry said. "Now we need to address the rest of that equation: the silent tax hikes of rising appraisals."

"If people are going to pay more in taxes to local government," Perry said. "It ought to come because of a vote and not the appraiser's note."

In his executive order creating the panel, Perry directed the TFAR with establishing a system for gathering public input throughout the state. The order also directs the Task Force to develop recommendations to improve the current tax appraisal process so that taxpayers are not burdened with tax levies that continue to rise rapidly while providing a long-term, stable source of revenue for essential government services. Perry asked for the recommendations prior to the start of the next session of the legislature on Jan. 9.

Perry stated he wants the task force to, "strike a proper balance between protecting taxpayers and ensuring funding for essential services. I have asked them to put everything on the table - no sacred cows, and no pre-arranged conclusions."

The appointment of the Task Force continues Perry's long-standing goal of providing Texans relief from skyrocketing appraisals and property taxes that drive the dream of home ownership out of the hands of many young Texans, and force many senior Texans out of their homes because they can no longer afford the taxes.

Perry has previously called on the legislature to cap annual property appraisals to protect Texans and to limit growth in property tax revenues to inflation plus population growth. Today he said he wants the commission to develop its own independent recommendations while keeping the plight of the taxpaying public foremost on its mind.

Perry also took issue with the contention that the savings from this summer's historic school property tax cut will be undermined by appraisals.

"The question is not what you are paying today compared to last year, but what you are paying today compared to what you would have paid under the previous rates," Perry said. "By any fair measure, millions of Texans will realize significant savings on their school taxes, including a one-third reduction starting in the fall of 2007."

The following is a simple example of how the math works:

The Smith family paid $2,000 in school taxes last year at $1.50 per $100 of assessed value. This year, with rates reduced to $1.33, school would be reduced to $1,766. If their taxable value grew the maximum 10 percent under the law because of a rapidly rising appraisal, their total tax bill under the Perry property tax cut would end up being $1,942. But had rates not been cut, their bill would have grown to $2,200. That yields a savings of $258, not $58.

Smith family:

2005 at $1.50 $2,000
2006 at $1.33 $1,766
10% appraisal increase for 2006 $176
Total tax bill under new law $1,942

10% appraisal increase if law was unchanged $200
Total tax bill if law was unchanged $2,200
Total Tax difference $258


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