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Summary: HB 585 seeks to address complaints about the property tax system involving bias and irresponsiveness on the part of appraisal review boards and local appraisal districts. Issues include inability to rectify small procedural issues without suing and an inability to remove appraisal review board members for cause. HB 585’s goal is to improve transparency and accountability within appraisal review boards and clarify law concerning board members and board hearings and to simplify the affidavit process regarding appearances at a board hearing.
Among other things, HB 585 would require the Comptroller to create model hearing procedures for appraisal review boards and prescribe the contents of a survey for persons to comment on an appraisal review board’s adherence to the model hearing procedures. For counties with more than 120,000 people, Taxpayer Liaison officers are required to document these public comments related to the fairness and efficiency of the appraisal review board. HB 585 also makes “clear and convincing evidence of repeated bias or misconduct,” as demonstrated by these public comments, grounds for removal of an appraisal review board member.
Analysis: HB 585 is a reasonable attempt to make appraisal review boards and local appraisal districts more transparent and responsive. It will also benefit taxpayers by staving off lawsuits filed against appraisal review boards and local appraisal districts. Providing model hearing procedures, and an opportunity for the public to comment on how members of appraisal review boards and local appraisal districts conform to these procedures, will give the public more ability to hold these members accountable, allowing consistent patterns of mistreatment to come to light. Support HB 585 because it limits government by promoting transparency in the appraisal process.