Lots of emails are popping up around the state making ludicrous charges about the propositions on the Texas constitutional amendment election. Apparently some hope it’s easier to peddle irrational fear than be bothered with reality. Facts are pesky things, and the facts are that taxpayers have a lot to gain by three of the amendments — which might explain who is behind the misinformation campaign.

Three amendments on the ballot go about reforming the property tax appraisal system and process; those are Proposition 2, 3 and 5.

Some are charging that these would create a state property tax. Or sinisterly allow the state to be involved in the property tax system.

As State Rep. Aaron Pena (D-Edinburg) noted on his blog today, “These are conservative proposals by a conservative lawmaker on a conservative committee and I recommend their passage.”

The state IS already constitutionally involved in the property tax system. And no matter how much one might want to find monsters hiding in the closet, there is simply no way to reasonably construe these amendments to create a new property tax.

These amendments inure to the benefit of taxpayers. Proposition 2 would merely require appraisal districts to appraise your home as a home, rather than as something more expensive.

What does that mean for you? Lower property taxes. Now, who could be against you having lower property taxes…?

Proposition 3 would apply standards to the appraisal process, ensuring properties are appraised with the same governing principles. The only “control” currently available is an after-the-fact audit by the Comptroller; the only punishment is to withhold state dollars from the school district. But the school district doesn’t appraise the properties, and such action does nothing for the individual property owners.

Instead, this amendment will protect taxpayers — and bring greater transparency to the process — at the front end. That’s good policy. Taxpayers benefit when they aren’t guessing what standards an appraisal district may, or may not, be using.

Finally, Proposition 5 allows taxpayers to save money by consolidating appraisal review boards with adjoining counties. Saving money and reducing bureaucracies… Who might be fighting that…?

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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