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Perry Praises Appraisal Reform Plan

Location: Austin, TX

Perry Praises Appraisal Reform Plan

Proposal will empower taxpayers, improve fairness and stop runaway appraisal growth

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today praised members of the Task Force on Appraisal Reform for their work and said he strongly supports their plan to reform Texas' broken property appraisal system.

"Today's recommendations provide better protections for taxpayers from silent tax hikes, more accountability through elected representation on appraisal review boards and greater tax predictability for homebuyers," Perry said. "Taken together, this package will improve the accuracy of appraisals, prevent future unfunded state mandates on local government, and ensure taxpayers are no longer rendered powerless in stopping large tax and spending increases that often occur without even a vote of their local representatives."

The Task Force's report recommends that lawmakers pass five key statutory changes and two constitutional changes:

* Require voter approval for any local taxing entity (excluding schools) to charge or collect revenues from ad valorem taxes in excess of the approved prior year's budgeted tax revenue plus 5%.
* Improve fairness and consistency in the appraisal process. Appraisal boards would be comprised of five members, including two taxpayer representatives, and taxpayers would have new options in challenging property valuations.
* Change the comptroller's property valuation study, which is used to equitably distribute state funding to schools, as well as provide uniformity in local property appraisal practices.
* Prohibit the state from passing unfunded mandates to local governments in the future.
* Require sales price disclosure.
* Change the constitution to allow taxpayers the option of calculating their property taxes using a 5-year rolling average of the property's appraised value.
* Change the constitution to lower the residential appraisal cap on city and county taxes from 10% to 5%, double the local property tax homestead exemption to $6,000 and allow local governments the option of conducting an election to enact a half-cent countywide sales tax constitutionally dedicated to property tax reduction. The appraisal cap could be lowered to five percent only in counties that vote for a half-cent countywide sales tax increase.

"There is nothing fair about property tax bills increasing 233 percent across Texas in less than 20 years, or a forty-six percent increase on residential homesteads in major metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2004," Perry said. "If Texans are going to be taxed every year on the same property, there at least needs to be a belief among the public that every precaution is being taken to keep their tax bills from rising any faster than needed."

"By making sales data available to appraisers, requiring elected officials to review the appraisal rolls and giving voters greater authority over total tax bills, we can protect Texans from skyrocketing tax bills, provide local governments the room for growth they need, and ensure that tax relief passed last year results in greater savings," Perry said.

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