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Bexar County Taxpayers Face Rising Property Values, Tax Bills Amid The Pandemic Economy

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels: https://bit.ly/3fpzL14

Many property owners are currently facing job and income losses amid the coronavirus' economic fallout but their taxes are due, even in a pandemic. 

Property values -- already on the rise year over year -- were last determined on January 1, 2020 -- several weeks before the coronavirus prompted protective shutdown orders that wreaked havoc on Texas' economy. The state's unemployment rate was 12.8% in April -- its highest since 1976.

How will the viral outbreak affect Bexar County resident’s ability to pay property taxes? And if residents can't pay, how will local government budgets -- for which property taxes are a vital source of revenue -- manage to pay for basic services like public schools and police?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declined to freeze property taxes because of the pandemic. What was his reasoning? How dire would the situation need to be for the Governor to implement such a freeze and what are the potential implications of doing so?

Will contesting property appraisals take place in person or move online given COVID-19 concerns? How else will current circumstances affect the appeals process? 

How is a property's value determined? What goes into an appraisal and how much does it influence the amount of taxes owed? What happens to property owners who can't pay?

Last year the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2 which aims to lower property tax growth from year to year. The law caps property taxes at 3.5% unless voters approve an increase or a disaster triggers a rate increase to 8%.

Should the current public health situation considered a disaster? What could this new law mean for San Antonio-area property owners in 2020?


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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, June 16.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.