SB 330

85(R) - 2017
Senate Finance
Senate Finance

Vote Recommendation

Vote No; Amend
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


José Rodríguez

Bill Caption

Relating to the qualification of land for appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes as qualified open-space land.

Fiscal Notes

From the Legislative Budget Board: taxable property values could be reduced and the related costs to the Foundation School Fund could be increased through the operation of the school finance formulas.

Bill Analysis

Under current law, in order to have land appraised as open space land, which is taxed at a lower rate than residential or industrial land, the land must have been in continuous agricultural use for five of the past seven years. For land that has fallen out of qualification, a new landowner would have to pay taxes at a higher rate until the land re-qualifies. SB 330 would reform this system with the intent of making the open space valuation available on land that does not meet the five of seven years qualification, if the applicant is a veteran or is under 35 years of age. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

Texas is a major agricultural state and we recognize that the state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that its tax policy does not improperly disincentivize continued agricultural land use. To the extent that the farming and ranching community is aging, and younger prospective farmers and ranchers are unable to afford open space land due to the current qualifier that the land must have been in agricultural use for five of the past seven years, some reforms may be necessary.

Our objection to this bill is that it violates limited government by making reforms that only benefit two narrow sets of people - those under 35 years of age and veterans - to the exclusion of others who would remain locked into the current flawed system. It is not the proper role of a limited government to create a special system that benefits preferred special classes while excluding others. For these reasons we oppose SB 330. If the bill were amended to reform the "five of seven" system so that the reforms would be broadly available to everyone, we would support the amended bill.