No Tax Reform, But An Industry Blooms

Remember the campaign promises for property tax relief? Seen your latest property tax bill? The rates are going down (a little, because of the 2006 tax swap), but the bills are going up (a lot, thanks to appraisal creep). 
 
Six days remain in the legislative session, and despite record-breaking budget surpluses lawmakers haven’t delivered on the desperately needed additional property tax relief.
 
But as the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday, a whole new industry has developed around fighting property tax appraisals. Be sure to read the article.
 
Chalk it up to yet another missed opportunity – and another colossal failing of this legislative session – that nothing was done to reform the out-of-control property appraisal process. A gubernatorial task force studied the problem last fall and offered concrete recommendations. 
 
The public has been yearning for action, so of course the legislature did… nothing.
 
Dealing with the property appraisal districts has become a lot like talking to the Internal Revenue Service. The Morning News quotes one man as saying, "It's intimidating when you go down there and walk in. They have their own rules and procedures. If you don't know them, they really don't want to listen to you."
 
So the solution? Hire an advocate to work the system. 
 
You can get property tax relief… But only if you can afford it.
 
The state’s Republican leadership is well on its way to having completely squandered the opportunity to provide both property tax reform and tax relief. Taxpayers should be ready to look at the results of this session with nothing much to be happy about.
 
As for all those campaign promises to reform property taxes and provide property tax relief… Not worth the paper the flyers were printed on, apparently. And they want us to re-elect them? There are even some, like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who appear to be angling for electoral promotions.
 
With just six days remaining, it rests with Mr. Dewhurst (as president of the state senate) to make sure taxpayers get at least some property tax relief (it's too late to reform the system this session, and the House managed to mangle the tax relief effort). His office number is 512-463-0001.
 
In the meantime, the appraisal process is getting more complicated and your tax bill is growing steadily higher. It’s revolting.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is the CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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