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Property taxes trigger ‘growing social crisis in Texas’

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August 4, 2016 | 518 views | Post a comment

By Kenric Ward / August 4, 2016

A Texas lawmaker is calling local politicians to account for their persistent assertions that steady tax rates mean flat property tax bills.

“That’s simply not true,” said state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston.

“Appraised values in many major Texas cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin and Fort Worth are up 12 percent. Without some sort of property tax rate reductions, government revenues will rise by 12 percent and so will tax bills,” said Bettencourt, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief.

“In 36 hours of public testimony, we heard one issue loud and clear: Property tax bills are taxing property owners out of their homes and businesses,” he said, noting that property tax bills are growing three times faster than Texans’ median income.

When total property taxes increase by 12 percent a year over three years, city and county tax revenues increase almost 40 percent.

“Data continue to show that all over the state, property tax revenue growth continues to increase at an untenable pace,” said Bettencourt, a former tax assessor-collector.

In a series of articles, has reported that aggressive increases in property values are triggering record protests and even lawsuits against county appraisal districts throughout Texas.

The problem has been building for years. In 2010, a report by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute declared, "Property taxes are at the root of a growing social crisis in Texas."

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