In Dallas County, total property values are up 16 percent, with about half of that attributable to increases on existing properties, according to a Dallas Morning News report.

appAlthough Collin County has not posted 2007 average home values yet, the Dallas Morning News reports that total appraisals are up 47 percent in Celina , 38.9 percent in Prosper, and 30.3 percent in Melissa, all of which are in the northern part of the county. Assuming half is due to new construction, that is still 15 to 24 percent increases in average home value.

Ellen Clark, owner of Town Square Realty in Lancaster, said some appraisals show little rhyme or reason, noting that one client's home rose in value from $78,000 to $176,000 this year.

Looking at Tarrant County and comparing 2006 and 2007 average home values, we see that Lakeside homes have risen some 12.4 percent this year.

Meanwhile, the Killeen Daily Herald reports that existing homes went up an average of 8 percent, more than twice the rate of inflation.

However, at least these appraisal districts are providing data. Unfortunately, the Travis County and Bexar County websites have zero reports available, giving taxpayers no information at all about aggregate trends, including the increase in average home values.

 All of this illustrates that reforms in the appraisal process are needed next session in order to make the property tax rate cuts meaningful and ensure that we don't end up seeing the property tax relief paid for by the new business negated through higher appraisals, leaving us with a new tax plus an old tax that is still just as costly.