As many of you may know, the Texas legislature meets every two years, and this year they met as planned. There were hundreds of laws that were put in place, and some were enacted, some failed, and some didn’t make it through the gate.
Some had substance, others were “feel-good calculations”, but nothing essential in the area of property tax reform and the need to provide real estate owners with much-needed relief.
I was interested in HB 288, which was presented by District 85 representative Phil Stephenson. Loud at The Field Leader News Representative Stephenson said the bill has the potential to cut property taxes by 50 percent.
My last conversation with one of his co-workers in the capital ended with being told that the bill had been referred to the Ways & Means Committee, and I interpreted this to mean that the bill was sent to the committee to die .
At this point I have come to the following conclusion or opinion … First and foremost, the burden of funding for schools, municipalities, district administrations, etc. has gradually shifted from the state to the individual property owners.
The state of Texas is aware of this and obviously doesn’t think it’s a problem because it has chosen to do little or nothing about it.
The Central Appraisal District, while sometimes accommodating, only administers guidelines that come from above, and their appraisal process is absent at best.
By the way, real estate is more often overvalued than undervalued, which benefits the state and not the property owners.
Now you are probably wondering where am I going with all of this.
Most of you are already aware of the things I mentioned and you might be thinking, “What the hell is new?”
In summary, let me share my thoughts. Somewhere in this great state of Texas someone has to start a movement to address this undue and unfair burden on property owners.
Again, it seems to me that none of the people we have elected recognize or acknowledge how serious this problem really is. We as taxpayers have little or nothing to gain by waiting for the next legislative term, which is slated for 2023, and then starting over at that particular time.
This annual property tax expense will come back towards the end of this year and it won’t get any better if we, taxpayers, don’t get up and tackle this issue now.
Our schools, communities, and county governments deserve fair and adequate funding, but it shouldn’t be left on the taxpayer’s backs and driven solely by property taxes.
Finally, let me say that I still believe in our democratic form of government. Although we are slow and cumbersome at times, we, the humans, still have the power to make change when we unite for a common and just cause.
There is no better time to start than now!
– Robert L. “Bobby” Perez is a former mayor pro tem of the city of El Campo and the 2013 Citizen of the Year of El Campo.