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Senate Committee Hears SB 2, Texas Property Tax Reform & Relief Act
Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:55 AM

The Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017, or S.B. 2, by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), received a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. S.B. 2 would reduce the growth of property tax rates by lowering the rollback tax rate from its current cap of 8 percent to 4 percent. This would allow property taxes to increase by no more than 4 percent from year to year. It also removes the petition requirement for an election, thus making an election automatic if a city, county, or special district exceeds the 4 percent rollback rate.

The bill would mandate any city or jurisdiction that raised the rate to hold an election on a general election date. Additionally, S.B. 2 enhances accountability by creating a Property Tax Administration Advisory Board in the comptroller's office to oversee the appraisal process. It sets the filing deadline for all property tax protests as May 15, thus eliminating confusion for owners caused by multiple deadlines previously set for different classifications of property. 

Sens. Whitmire (D-Houston), Seliger (R-Amarillo), and Huffman (R-Houston) raised concerns about diminishing local control, hindering the ability of municipal officials to be responsive to their community’s needs. Sen. Birdwell (R-Waco) said the rural counties in his district have less dynamic tax bases and need the flexibility to deal with economic downturns, such as those brought on by extended drought.

Sen. West (D-Dallas) asked about the bill’s effect on school taxes, which are the largest portion of property taxes. According to Bettencourt, the school tax growth rate is much lower for school districts than the rates of cities, counties, and special districts. His bill will slow the growth rate overall and reduce future tax rates.

The bill was voted favorably from the committee.

For more information, please contact Texas Credit Union Association President Jeff Huffman at 469-385-6488 or jhuffman@txcua.coop.