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Collin County taxpayers who want to testify on behalf of property tax relief proposals are getting a free ride to the Capitol, courtesy of a state lawmaker.

State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) has chartered a bus to take constituents to Austin for a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday, March 14, where testimony on several property tax reform bills will be heard.

Collin County homeowners pay the second highest property tax bills in Texas.

One of the most prominent measures at Tuesday’s hearing (SB 2) would require voter approval for cities, counties, and other localities that propose an annual tax increase above four percent. Under current law, localities can raise taxes on existing taxpayers as high as they want, without ever requiring local voter approval.

Property tax and appraisal reform – along with voter empowerment – are key legislative priorities identified by Empower Texans.

The rules of the legislature dictate that only people physically present at committee hearings can testify or register “for” or “against” legislation, giving professional lobbyists an advantage over average taxpayers.

Sen. Taylor says he believes legislators should hear citizens’ voices as well:

I am sick and tired of big-government interests and their hired guns having a larger voice at the Capitol than the people. The stories shared by so many homeowners, worried about their ability to stay in their home as the property tax burden continues to grow, were truly heartbreaking and must be shared with lawmakers. That is why I am charting a bus from Collin County to Austin for those wishing to testify for property tax reform!

The ride to the Capitol is free of charge, but reservations are required. The bus will leave from Collin County Republican Party Headquarters in McKinney at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and return late the same evening. Constituents may call Sen. Taylor’s office at (972) 836-7986 for more information.

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a full agenda for the hearing, starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Finance Room (E1.036) in the Capitol extension. The hearing is open to the public, so anyone interested in weighing in on property tax reform is welcome and encouraged to attend and participate.

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