Property tax reform in Texas has attracted some unlikely allies as of late.

Both the Montgomery County Commissioners Court and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), an economic development corporation covering the greater Houston area, have endorsed Senate Bill 2 by State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston).

Marc Watts, incoming chair of the GHP Board of Directors, said, “SB 2, if passed, would improve nearly every part of the property tax system for business owners and home owners alike.”

A key component of the bill targets the rollback rate – or the amount in which local governments can increase the tax rate before triggering an election – by lowering it from 8 percent to 4 percent. By cutting the rollback rate in half, SB 2 would effectively lower the growth rate of property taxes across the state.

In a press release, Bettencourt said, “The Partnership highlighted that Senate Bill 2 would give taxpayers a greater voice in the rate-setting processes of the growing number of local taxing entities statewide.”

SB 2 was crafted after Bettencourt, in charge of the interim Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Reform, traveled across the state holding town halls for taxpayers to address their issues with the current system.

While Montgomery County and the GHP have come out in favor of providing relief to taxpayers, other government entities and associations haven’t been as supportive.

Texas Municipal League (TML), a taxpayer-funded lobbying group, staunchly oppose the bill because it limits the amount that municipalities – who pay to be members of TML – can collect in property taxes. In addition to TML, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the City of San Antonio openly oppose the bill.

Property tax reform has been a leading concern for Texans paying attention to the legislature this session. It’s time for the legislature to act on easing this taxpayer burden.

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Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.