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Keeping in step with their approach to property tax relief, the Texas Senate passed SB 1760 by Conroe Republican Brandon Creighton.  The measure increases transparency and accountability for taxpayers.

Specifically, SB1760:

  • Eliminating the requirement that taxpayers owed a refund must apply for it, increasing the interest rate on refunds to 9.5%,
  • Requiring all local taxing-entities to justify tax increases on notices and within ballot language,
  • Allowing court hearing an appraisal dispute to give preference to the testimony of an independent, licensed appraiser, and
  • Requiring the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to compile and annually publish a ranked list of tax rates by entity.

Freshman State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), who has been an ardent proponent of property tax relief this session, provided an amendment to the bill that will require a local government who wishes to exceed the effective tax rate to have a vote of at least 60% of the governing body in support of the increase.

Ultimate passage of the legislation was hailed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has made property tax relief a major priority this session.

“SB 1760 delivers true tax relief for Texas homeowners by placing downward pressure on the oppressive growth of property taxes through transparency,” said Patrick.  “Sen. Creighton’s bill gives homeowners the ability to hold local government accountable for the demands they place on taxpayers.  SB 1760 is another step in an overall plan to reduce property taxes for homeowners and businesses.  In March, the Senate passed with bipartisan support to double the homestead exemption for homeowners to over $30,000 a year.  I applaud the Senators for making sure homeowners across the state receive the tax relief Texans deserve.”