COMMITTEE CONSIDERS BILL TO LOWER APPRAISAL CAP
(AUSTIN) — Texas homeowners could see a reduction in property tax increases under two bills before the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. Houston Senator Dan Patrick and Jacksonville Senator Robert Nichols each filed separate bills with the same effect: capping appraisal increases on homes at five percent per year. According to Patrick, Texas has the third highest average homeowner property tax in the nation, and the current ten percent cap means that homeowners in fast growth areas can see property taxes double in as few as seven years.
In the current tight fiscal environment, many witnesses testified against the measures, saying it would mean severe cuts to local and county budgets. Dick Levine of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said the proposed cap would strain an already limited revenue stream. "What this would do to the adequacy of a system that's already suffering from inadequate revenue is clear from the fiscal note," he said. The Legislative Budget Board, the non-partisan state agency charged with assess the fiscal impact of proposed legislation, the cap would cost the nearly $200 million in general revenue by 2016. Both bills remain pending before the committee.
In floor action Monday, the Senate passed nine bills on the general calendar, including:
- SB 116, by Uresti, would allow a person to file a restraining order against the former partner of their current significant other
- SB 647, by Hegar, would continue the operation of the Office of Public Insurance Counsel through 2023
- SB 822, by Watson, would permit doctors at university hospitals to access the expedited certification process available to other doctors working in managed healthcare plans.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, March 22 at 11 a.m.