Homeowners across the state have seen the amount of taxes owed on their property increase year after year. Complaints of appraisals, confusing statements and rising taxes have made ownership less desirable. Property tax reform has finally come to Texas after the 86th Legislative session. What laws have been enacted, and will property taxes finally be reduced?
Property taxes collected determine the operating budgets for cities, counties and municipalities. Local taxing jurisdictions set the tax rate according to the amount needed to fund public services.
The rise in property taxes are the result of increased property values. Taxes are collected based on ad valorem, or the "value" of a property on the market. Locally, the Bexar County Appraisal District appraises property to determine fair market value.
San Antonio is seeing growth and prosperity across the city which translates into higher market values for homes. Bexar County residents saw on average an increase of 8.7 percent on their property value this year. Owners can protest the assessed value of their home, but property tax notices stating the market value and tax rates can be difficult to understand.
Senate Bill 2, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott this year, will give homeowners better information about taxation, appraisals and how to protest if necessary.
SB 2 is only one part of a broad tax reform plan. House Bill 3, which would address public school funding, is also aimed at providing tax relief.
On June 24, San Antonio City Council unanimously approved a homestead exemption. The homestead exemption will give homeowners relief but what will it cost the city?
What does this property tax reform mean for homeowners? How will this affect funding for municipalities? When will these changes take effect?
Michael Amezquita, chief appraiser for the Bexar County Appraisal District
Jennifer Rabb, director and fellow of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy
Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association
"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email email@example.com or tweet at @TPRSource.
*This interview was recorded on Monday, July 1.