Texas Senate Committee for Property Tax Reform and Relief Hears Testimony in Lubbock
Monday morning, the six-member Texas Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief heard testimony from a number of citizens in Lubbock.
According to committee roughly 120 people attended the five-hour long committee hearing.
The committee is chaired by State Senator Paul Bettencourt (SD-7) and committee members are Sen. Brandon Creighton (SD-4), Sen. Van Taylor (SD-8), Sen. Kelly Hancock (SD-9), Sen. Carlos Uresti (SD-19), and Sen. Charles Perry (SD-28, Lubbock)(pictured, above right).
"Taxpayers simply cannot continue to withstand tax bills that increase over three times as fast as their income," said Chairman Bettencourt after the public hearing. "There is not a wage earner out there that would turn down a 10% wage increase every year, but that is exactly the deal that government has in many areas."
Some of the data from the Comptroller's office shows that between 2005 and 2014, in Lubbock County, property tax levies have increased 105%, while median household income has increased only 32% over this same time period. Statewide in the same time period, property taxes are rising 2.5 times faster than median household income.
The committee heard invited testimony from Tim Radloff, Lubbock County Chief Appraiser; Ronnie Keister, Lubbock County Tax Assessor Collector; and Paul Harpole, Mayor of Amarillo.
Also testifying at Monday's hearing, Lubbock mayoral candidate Todd Klein (pictured, right).
"I appreciate State Senator Charles Perry and the Senate Committee Chair and members traveling to Lubbock to receive public comments on the very serious issue of appraisal creep and the lack of direct public say in the high growth of property taxes."
Klein said that he believes if action cannot be taken at the local level to address this serious issue then the state should look at ways to curb this growth and lack of public accountability.
Senator Bettencourt also highlighted the testimony given by a man that drove six hours to address the committee. During his testimony it was stated that his property tax bill had increased 25% in just a single year. The man also said that during his protest hearing the Appraisal Review Board Chairman asked the County's Chief Appraiser what could be done, because they were not supposed to make any changes. These two entities are supposed to operate independently of other another.
"This is exactly why Lt. Governor Dan Patrick commissioned this committee to go around the State," said Chairman Bettencourt. "Actions like this are appalling to Texas taxpayers and make a mockery of the entire system."
The Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief will continue to hold hearings throughout the rest of the year. The next hearing will be held on April 27 at the University of Texas at Arlington.