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Relating to the eligibility of land to continue to be appraised for ad valorem tax purposes as qualified open-space land if the land is temporarily used for sand mining operations; authorizing a fee.
The bill would have an indeterminate fiscal impact to the state because the amount of fees collected for determination letters and the value and number of acres that would qualify for continued special open space appraisal under the specific parameters of the bill are unknown. Additionally, enactment of the bill would provide that the eligibility of land for special open space appraisal does not end because the land is used for a sand mining operation for a limited time. As a result, 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.
The bill would not make any appropriation but could provided the legal basis for an
appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
HB 2942 would make a variety of statutory changes regarding land used for a particular sand mining operation overlying the Carrizo Aquifer. The would stipulate that the eligibility of the land for an open-space exemption does not end because the land ceases to be devoted principally to agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area if the owner of the land intends that the use of the land for agricultural purposes be resumed, the land is used for a sand mining operation, and the land is reclaimed according to standards set forth in the bill. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would adopt standard best practices of land used in this sand mining operation and for the land to be reclaimed in accordance with the requirements specified in the bill.
It appears that the purpose of this bill is to provide a framework to allow certain agricultural land to be used for sand mining operations and then be put back to agricultural use after the sand mining operation is finished and the land has been reclaimed.
This is a local bill which would create a way for the particular land it addresses to be used in a way that it otherwise could not. We would rather this could be done in a less regulatory way, but to the extent that the bill would allow the land owner to use the land for a purpose not possible absent this legislation, we remain neutral on HB 2942.