“You could afford your house without the government, if it weren't for the government.” -Rush Limbaugh
By David Erinakes
AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) —
Well, yet another week of the Texas Legislature's "Special Session #1" has gone by, and we seem to once again be in a dilemma regarding Property Tax Relief. Its relief that Texas taxpayers have been promised, and that they want and demand.
After all, we can’t go on much longer allowing Grandma to be required to rent her paid off home from the Government – especially in these times of inflation and liberal policies.
To the average Texan, it seems it's always about "more money," and less about "just enough money" to do the job.
When you review the opposing House and Senate property tax relief plans in terms of the total amount of relief provided in each, they seem to be about the same – although in the Senate this week, Lt. Governor Patrick has quite vocally been arguing that their specific proposal benefits businesses and landowners, while giving a nod and paying attention to what the voters want, substantial relief.
It would be legislators addressing what property owners see as out of control appraisals.
So far what's been agreed to in Austin, is what's known in legislative parlance as "compression." While its agreed that "compression" is a good strategy, and is one that will work – it means nothing to the typical Texan because it’s not translatable to the reality in which we live. They need something more tangible, something that's understandable and real to them.
Critics will immediately jump on this and say, "that doesn’t matter," and technically they have a point. But – and this is a big but – the optics of legislators continuing to not do
anything on the issue are terrible, and in politics we all know that perception is reality... especially if you want to show you care about your constituent's concerns, and are listening to what they want.
My point is that Republicans simply cannot go home without addressing the issue of appraisals. Its easy enough to do, and in fact must be done as an amendment to the final bill before out of control Apprasial Districts simply hike appraisals until they (inevitably) wipe out what property exemption increases are added. Such has been the case with every other exemption put in place in the past.
How about a simple solution; require the recalculation of every appraisal to only allow increases at the rate of inflation plus population growth? Don’t even listen to complainers who say this would be too much work to do. If legislators were to get this done, Republicans would be heroes and renters would be helped because taxes wouldn’t go up and require their rent to go up.
It's time, I think, to ask Texas homeowners if addressing this now is what they want. Or, if legislators do something else now with the promise of reforming the appraisal system next session, would they in fact be happy?
David Erinakes formerly worked in the Texas Legislature, and is Chief Executive Officer of The E Development Companies.