Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
As reported to the House floor CSSB 2 would make improvements to the property tax system by improving taxpayer access to information and making local taxation more transparent.
Among other things, this bill would bill would do the following:
Require the comptroller to prescribe electronic tax rate calculation forms to be used by the designated officer or employee of each taxing unit and school district to calculate and submit the the no-new-revenue tax rate and the rollback tax rate.
Allow the forms to be modified and updated as necessary with certain revisions requiring approval from the members of a committee selected by the comptroller.
Require the comptroller to include school district tax rates in the list of tax rates imposed by each taxing unit in this state as reported by each appraisal district.
Require the the appraisal district board of directors for a district established in a county with a population of one million or more to increase the size of the board to the number of members they deem appropriate to manage the duties of the board.
Establish special appraisal review board panels for properties appraised at $50 million or more that are in one of the specified property categories in a county with a population of 1 million or more.
Require the chief appraiser to state in a notice of appraised value that the property owner has the right to a protest heard by a special panel of the appraisal review board.
Effective January 1, 2020, would strike the requirement for the tax amount that would be imposed on the property on the basis of the tax rate for the preceding year to be included in a notice of appraised value, if the appraised value is greater than it was in the preceding year.
Re-name the effective tax rate as the "no-new-revenue tax rate", and the effective maintenance and operations tax rate as the "no-new-revenue maintenance and operations tax rate".
Require the designated officer or employee to use the tax rate calculation forms prescribed by the comptroller in calculating the no-new-revenue tax rate and the rollback tax rate, but may not submit the those rates to the governing body of the taxing unit for adoption until the officer or employee certifies that they have accurately calculated the tax rates.
Create and update procedures and requirements for taxpayer notices containing specified tax bill information.
Require each appraisal district to maintain and update a searchable and publicly accessible property tax database containing specified information regarding property values, property taxes, various kinds of tax rate, hearing dates, and other related information.
Prohibit the governing body of a taxing unit from holding a public hearing on a proposed tax rate or a public meeting to adopt a tax rate until the 14th day after the date the designated officer or employee has complied with certain requirements pertaining to the property tax database.
Prohibit the chief appraiser from adopting a tax rate until the chief appraiser has delivered a specified notice and incorporated the tax rate calculation forms into the property tax database and made them available to the public, the designated officer or employee of the taxing unit has entered the required information into the property tax database for the current tax year, and the taxing unit has posted the required information on its website.
Require each taxing unit to maintain or have access to a generally accessible website which contains the specified budget, tax rate, tax revenue, and audit information in a format prescribed by the Comptroller.
Entitle a person who owns taxable property to file an injunction, not later than the 15th day after the date the taxing unit adopts a tax rate, to restrain the collection of taxes by a taxing unit if the taxing unit or chief appraiser has not complied with certain computation, publication, posting or other requirements. If the property owner pays the taxes first and subsequently prevails in the action, the property owner is entitled to a refund of the taxes paid, together with reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.
Establish procedures for the request, approval, and conduction of special panels to hear protests.
When we reported on SB 2 in the Senate it was a more substantive property tax reform measure designed to increase local tax transparency and place a check on the growth of local property taxes by giving taxpayers more control over tax increases. The House committee substitute stripped out some of the reforms but still contains beneficial transparency provisions which would make property tax information more accessible and visible to taxpayers and thus make local officials more accountable. We support these provisions and overall passage of this bill. We would also support an amendment to restore the Senate provision for an automatic rollback election which is not included in the House committee substitute.