Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson was in Austin recently, lobbying against the core of proposed reforms to Texas’ property tax system.

During a recent hearing by the House Committee on Ways and Means, Nelson spoke before members, lobbying for changes to the tax system but against the proposal to move the current rollback tax rate to 2.5 percent. Nelson made her speech to the committee “on behalf of the citizens of Amarillo” shortly after signing a letter to committee chairman Dustin Burrows to oppose the rollback change.

“There are many things about this bill we like, and we want to show you that we are ready to go to work on bringing solutions that will work,” Nelson said.

Nelson told committee members that she hopes for a tax change that would respect the public safety needs of Amarillo, saying all cities have fixed costs for public safety which makes it difficult to support the exact changes proposed by the bill. Nelson also would not say what rollback rate she would support, but she made it clear in the letter signed by 24 mayors that she does not support the proposed 2.5 percent rate.

When asked what rate she would support, Nelson told Burrows, “I think we’re engaging in that conversation with you guys because depending on how that formula ends up … it’s too early to be able to tell you.”

This is not the first time Nelson has made a trip to Austin to oppose property tax reform legislation. In July 2017, shortly after taking office for the first time, Nelson traveled to Austin with Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo to meet with Gov. Greg Abbott. In that meeting, Nelson told the Amarillo Globe-News that she planned to oppose a proposal to move the rollback tax rate to 4 percent, saying she was concerned about “losing local control and losing flexibility.”

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.