The House Ways and Means Committee met on October 14th for invited and public testimony on interim charges 3, 4 and 6, to receive an update on the Comptroller’s recent prediction of declining property values and to discuss growing student enrollment.


Charge 3:  Study methods for improving the quality and uniformity of, and communications to taxpayers about, property tax appraisals.


Charge 4:  Evaluate the impact of the transfer of administrative law judges from the Comptroller’s Office to the State Office of Administrative Hearings on the dispute resolution process.


Charge 6:  Monitor the implementation of property tax appraisal and alternative valuation appeal reforms enacted by the 81st Legislature.


Key points:

  • In 2010, property values declined in 2%.  For 2011, the agency estimates residential values to drop 1%, industrial values to decline 6% and commercial valuations to drop 8%.  In 2012, the Comptroller estimates residential values to increase 2% and a slight decrease in both industrial and commercial valuations.
  • There appears to be a consensus that the John Otto bills enacted in 2009 are addressing issues as expected.
  • General support for using the tax appraisal notice to educate consumer on how the appraised value is connected to tax rates.
  • Discussion on consolidated property tax collections, some have opposed mandatory consolidation.
  • The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association testified that it is working on a new appraisal notice bill, similar to the same bill from last session.
  • There was no discussion of caps of any sort, nor of “reforming” tax rate calculations.
  • The foreclosure problem was reviewed.  It will be 2013 before all the foreclosures move through the system.