There has been a lot of misleading information going around via email on Props 2 and 3, which deal with property taxes, and that information is extremely damaging to the efforts to fix our property appraisal system in the state of Texas.

Prop 2 states “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the ad valorem taxation of a residence homestead solely on the basis of the property’s value as a residence homestead.”

What this means, in layman’s terms, is that appraisal districts will be required to appraise your home as a home. Right now, people who live near booming commercial developments, like the Domain area in north Austin, are experiencing unaccountable hikes in their appraised values. This is because appraisers are valuing homes in places like this based partly on the idea that one day, the land will be worth something to commercial developers. Prop. 2 would keep them from that kind of unwarranted speculation, and require that homes be appraised as is. I strongly support Prop 2.

Prop 3 states “The constitutional amendment providing for uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes.”

Right now, property appraisal standards differ from district to district. This means that in one county, appraisers may just do an annual “drive-by” of your home and use neighborhood sales prices to determine the approximate value of your home for taxing purposes. In another county, they may skip the drive-by and use old records of repair and sales costs to determine value. There are numerous problems with the system as it stands – because there is no system. In a lot of rural districts, incoming appraisers and appraisal board members receive no training at all, and have to make it up as they go along.

Prop 3 would not require a uniform system outright – it simply gives the legislature the ability to prescribe the manner of the enforcement of uniform appraisal standards and procedures. Given that the state funds schools through local property taxes, and the local property appraisals determine that tax, there needs to be some kind of oversight to ensure fairness and equitable determination. Please vote YES on Prop 3.