As legislators continue to grapple with the ongoing debate around property taxes, Republican State Rep. Brian Harrison from Midlothian said he is sick and tired of his constituents losing their homes due to unfair and unethical property tax systems.
Earlier this month, Harrison filed two bills to ensure that taxpayers will have a say in how much they pay in property taxes.
House Bill 2220 would require taxing entities to hold elections for any tax increase above the no-new-revenue rate, a property tax rate calculated to produce the same amount of tax revenue this year if applied to the same properties taxed last year, enabling the public to compare year-to-year tax burdens.
House Bill 2221 would require any voter-approved tax increases to receive 60 percent of the vote.
“What I’m trying to do here is put the voters, put the taxpayers for the first time back truly in charge of their property taxes,” said Harrison during an interview with WFAA. “If you want to raise somebody’s property taxes even more, you can’t do that unless you hold an election.”
The idea stems from a similar proposition recently passed in Arizona, which requires 60 percent of voters to approve property tax increases.
Harrison says there shouldn’t be any concern over revenue to local governments.
“I represent a growing area, so I understand that local governments have to provide for growth, but adopting last year’s effective tax rate doesn’t mean their revenues stay flat because of all the new people that come in that increases their taxable base,” said Harrison.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has made the local spending reforms laid out in HB 2220 one of their legislative priorities for this session.
“Rep. Harrison has keyed in on the necessity of local spending reforms. HB 2220 is one of TFR’s legislative priorities for the 88th session and an absolute need for real property tax reform in Texas. In 2022 cities and local governments played games through deceptive disclosures, confusing taxpayers. Lowering the voter approval rate to the no-new-revenue rate, it simplifies and provides transparency to homeowners all over the state,” said Tim Hardin, president of TFR.
“Texas has one of the highest local debts in the nation, and unless the Legislature places fiscally responsible limits on their spending, homeowners will be in a much worse situation next year than they are this year. TFR whole-heartedly supports both HB 2220 and HB 2221 and commends Rep. Harrison for his bold leadership in this area.”
Concerned citizens can contact their elected officials to ask how they will vote to ensure their voices are heard on property tax hikes.