City, county governments now eyeing property taxes - FOX34 Lubbock

City, county governments now eyeing property taxes

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It is budget time for city and county governments. That means they are eyeballing residents' property taxes. 

Over the past two years, a lot has changed, most of it handwritten by Lubbock lawmakers.

Back in April, most home and business owners should have received notices of appraised value. it is the first part of the equation into how much you will pay in property taxes.

"The second piece of the pie that people forget about but is equally, if not more important, is each of those local taxing entities are about to determine how big the pie they think they need, how much they want to raise from all property within their jurisdiction to fund their operations in the given year," Lubbock State Rep. Dustin Burrows, chairman of the Texas House's Ways & Means Committee, said.

That will change starting Aug. 7.

Senate Bill 2 is intended to make the process easier to understand. Rep. Burrows wrote the Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act. That law changes some language, specifically changing what was known as the "effective tax rate" into the "no-new-revenue tax rate." That is the rate that generates about the same revenue as last year for existing properties. In other words, the "no-new-revenue tax rate" means the average property owner will not pay more property tax to that government than last year.

"So, they're all about to go into their budget setting sessions, where they figure out how big their budget is, and then they're going to adopt a corresponding tax rate, which determines how much they want to tax your property to collect and pay for that big of a budget," Burrows said.

In the last legislative session, the state provided a greater share of funding for school districts. Burrows said that is not likely to change next session.

"One of the big things we wanted to do last session was go in there and do school finance, something that's never been done without a court order," Burrows said. "We came together, and I think it was great for the state and the future of the children in Texas, and I don't see anybody wanting to undo that."

This will be a "huge" priority going into January, he said. Committee hearings have already started to figure out how to rely less on property taxes to fund the maintenance and operations of schools.

Burrows said the number one thing citizens should remember is they all have taxation with representation. That means they have a voice in how much they pay. There will be a new website Lubbock County residents can use called Through this website, Burrows said residents can communicate directly with their elected officials as they go into adopting that rate. He said residents will get direct feedback from them, and they can start using this website starting Friday, Aug. 7.

"You can go on there and type in your address, and you're going to see how much money your county, your city, your hospital district wants to come collect from you this year, and how much more in dollars and cents that you're going to pay this coming year than the year before," he said.

Another change under SB2 that is now in effect is the voter-approval rate. Not including new development, if tax revenue goes up by more than 3.5 percent, voters must approve it, with some smaller entities exempted. The previous threshold was eight percent. However, some governments may cite the governor's COVID-19 emergency declaration; the legislation allows for an exception in an emergency, increasing the limit back up to eight percent.


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