“I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any longer.”

Fran Rhodes, the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party Vice-Chair, took a bold stand for herself and taxpayers statewide when she testified last week at the Texas Senate Committee meeting on property taxes. Rhodes spoke in support of Senate Bill 2, a reform that would give citizens more control over their own property taxes.

“I’m just tired of the whining and the crying,” she said about complaints from local government officials opposing property tax reform. Their complaints hadn’t changed from the last time the state tried to pass reform in 2017. As far as she was concerned, the real driver of skyrocketing property taxes is the refusal of local governments to be fiscally responsible and grow their budgets at reasonable rates.

“Something must be done to limit, not cap, the out-of-control spending of our local governments.”

“If working families have to make do with what they have, so should government,” Rhodes said.

Although SB2 gives more authority to citizens over property tax increases, Rhodes pointed out that the bill isn’t technically property tax relief, as it will not reduce anyone’s already high tax bills. She also expressed concern about the exemption or carve out for some cities in the bill, mostly in “bedroom” communities and rural areas, citing how all Texans need the protections included in the legislation.

Overall, however, she is supportive of the bill, the highlight of which would require that city, county, school and other taxing entities obtain local voter approval for an annual tax hike of 2.5 percent or more. Entities limited by voters would still collect new tax revenue from new growth and development.

Committee Chairman State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R—Houston) thanked Rhodes for her history and activism on this issue, and assured her that they intend to take action. A legislative proposal targeting tax relief has not yet been presented publicly.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.

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