Legislation on Tuesday’s House calendar would give taxpayers affected by a disaster a break in their property taxes.

After Hurricane Harvey ripped through southeast Texas, taxpayers were outraged to find they still owed 100 percent of their property tax bill—even if their home was damaged or destroyed. Taken together, Senate Bill 1772 and House Joint Resolution 34 address that by setting up levels of damage to be assigned by the local chief appraiser after a governor-declared disaster, which would then lower the tax bill.

Mark Ramsey, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, described SB 1772 as an important taxpayer protection.

“Gulf Coast taxpayers suffered $125 billion dollars of destruction of property values in Hurricane Harvey. Taxing entities in most cases flat refused to acknowledge this massive loss and continued taxing at the prior value, including taxing on the $125 billion that no longer existed, because in their arrogant self-supporting words, ‘We need the money,’” said Ramsey.

HJR 34 has passed the House and Senate; SB 1772 is set for debate in the House on Tuesday.

Should HJR 34 and SB 1772 become law, all taxpayers would have the opportunity following a declared disaster to apply for an exemption, and based on the amount of damage they would have relief applied immediately to their property tax bill.

If the two measures had been law when Hurricane Harvey struck the Lone Star State, tens of thousands of taxpayers could have seen a “re-appraisal” break on their tax bill.

“Taxing entities do not have a greater right (or need) to families’ assets, especially after those assets are damaged, perhaps even without insurance coverage for the losses,” added Ramsey.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”