Watson bills offer property tax reduction, fairness
January 9, 2015
Homeowners are frustrated by rising property taxes and a sense that they’re not getting the same deal as some deep-pocketed commercial property owners.
Sen. Kirk Watson has filed a collection of bills that could reduce homeowners’ frustration along with their property taxes.
“Hard-working Texans need good schools, safe neighborhoods, adequate roads and well-maintained parks. So we need a fair tax system that will pay for those needs. Homeowners are doing their part — it’s past time for the Legislature to do its part, too,” Sen. Kirk Watson said.
The bill package includes:
- SB 278 (SJR 20): Increases the mandatory school homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, which would provide every homeowner a tax reduction. The school homestead exemption has not been changed since 1997.
- SB 279 (SJR 21): Creates a flat-amount homestead exemption option for cities, counties and other local governments, in addition to the percentage option already available. Also requires that the jurisdictions to enact one of the homestead exemption options or have the board vote to opt out of the exemption.
- SB 280: Cleans up vague language in the property tax code that has created a loophole for property owners challenging an appraisal under the equal and uniform provision of the code. Applies the same standards of evidence for determining what is a comparable property for an equal and uniform claim as are used for market value claims.
- SB 281: Requires a property owner to provide an opinion of the property’s value and evidence supporting that value when protesting an appraisal value via affidavit to the Appraisal Review Board.
- SB 282: Extends from five years to 10 the property tax exemption granted to charitable organizations that provide low-income housing.
Other bills intended to improve the property appraisal process are in the works.
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Political advertisement paid for by Kirk Watson Campaign,
P.O. Box 2004, Austin, TX, 78768; Rosie Mendoza,Treasurer.