Notorious anti-taxpayer lobbying group, the tax-funded Texas Municipal League, is rallying its forces to oppose property tax reform.

Texas Scorecard obtained a copy of a document from TML calling for a “strong turnout” of “city officials and public safety officers” at Wednesday’s meeting of the Texas House Ways and Means Committee on House Bill 2. The document also included a series of talking points to use against the bill.

HB 2 and its companion Senate Bill 2 seek to control the growth of property taxes by triggering an automatic vote by taxpayers when local governments raise property taxes above the rollback rate, which itself would be reduced to 2.5 percent. All new growth would be exempt, and local governments that collect less than $15 million in tax revenues would be excluded, subject to an opt-in vote by local residents.

The TML document states:

“The House committee is expected to be respectful of city witnesses and will hopefully be more receptive to comments than the Senate committee. As such, a strong turnout of city officials and public safety officers is very important. City officials should begin preparing data to show the harmful effects of the bill, and those who decide to testify should be fully prepared to discuss the minute details of their tax rate and levy in recent years, including an explanation of any increases and a comparison of how a 2.5 percent cap would have affected the tax bill of an average home and the city’s ability to provide services.”

Property tax reform’s impact harming core services was an argument made by many local officials at the Texas Senate’s Property Tax Committee hearing, particularly by the City of Dallas’ chief financial officer. It is also one of the talking points TML distributed on their website as a plan of attack against SB 2.

This talking point was defeated when State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R–North Richland Hills) secured an admission from the CFO that if a tax hike above 2.5 percent were truly necessary to fund emergency services, voters would likely support it when the election came before them.

Taxpayers should expect a similar line of talking points parroted by local officials Wednesday, and all on their dime.

The hearing is set to convene at 8:00 a.m.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.