Update: The Hidden Property Tax, Your Clients, and You

There’s no denying it. Property tax bills are getting larger. As home values rise, the number of dollars coming out of our pockets rises, too. That financial pressure is making home ownership less attractive for some. It’s making it unattainable for others. And it’s beginning to push people to the point of no longer being able to afford their homes.

And we can do something about it. Remember, we are taxpayers. We are voters. We are Realtors. We have a voice. And we have the ability to create change.

Through our public advocacy outreach, we have encouraged local leaders to adopt the effective tax rate which would keep tax bills where they are, instead of allowing them to increase exponentially. MetroTex president Russell Berry has twice testified at Dallas County Commissioners Court hearings on the matter. We also launched an Issues Mobilization campaign to ask the public to contact their commissioners. We’ve written Op/Ed pieces and blogs, we’ve sent out postcards and maintained a strong social media campaign. And we’ve gotten a lot of coverage in the local media about the issue. We have changed the conversation and seen positive results.

Collin and Tarrant Counties are considering just such a move. Denton County has already adopted the effective tax rate for 2016. Some area school districts are joining in the effort by doing the same. Unfortunately, despite our efforts and the support of Judge Clay Jenkins and Commissioner Mike Cantrell, Dallas County voted not to adopt the effective tax rate for 2016, further increasing the tax burden on its citizens.

The Texas State Legislature is taking note. It is very likely that Texas legislators will consider the rising property tax burden on Texans. MetroTex will be there, alongside TAR, and other local REALTOR associations, fighting for homeowners.

You can get involved, too. Here’s how:

  • Contribute your fair share.* When annual dues bills come out in the next week or so, contribute to TREPAC to support this and other important causes that directly impact your business.
  • Visit thehiddenpropertytax.com and encourage your clients, friends and family to watch the video. We want voters to know more about how they are impacted by the hidden property tax, and what they can do about it.
  • Post the links on your social media. Help us raise awareness.
  • Contact your state senator and your state representative. Tell them you want them to stop the increasing tax burden on home owners. Visit http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx to find out who represents you and how to contact them.
  • Make sure you and your clients are registered to vote: http://www.votetexas.gov/.

Help us protect the interests of homeowners across the state. We know we can make a difference. We already have. But our work is not finished.

* Disclaimer:  Information disseminated in the public domain about TREPAC might be considered a solicitation, therefore contributions received from persons that are not members of the Texas Association of REALTORS(s) through this posting will be returned. 

A Solution for Rising Property Taxes?

With property tax protest season in full swing, Realtors all over the Metroplex are busy running comps and offering advice to homeowners who are headed into their tax protest hearings. And no wonder. With property values rising quickly, many homeowners are finding themselves paying more and more taxes every year. Unfortunately, salaries are not rising as quickly as tax bills. As Realtors, we need to stay active and advocate property tax reform to protect our clients and the health of the market. That’s why we supported Proposition 1 to increase the homestead exemption and prevent sales tax on homes. As it is, Texans pay some of the highest property taxes in the country; many are being forced out of their homes as values rise.

In Dallas County, Dallas Judge Clay Jenkins and others are considering cutting the property tax rate. That’s a great start. But we’d like to see more. Judge Jenkins’ proposal to lower the property tax rate is not ultimately is not a proposal to lower taxes. Rather, his proposal would equate to a smaller annual tax increase. Lowering the property tax rate still allow the amount of tax that homeowners pay to increase every year as long a property values are on the rise.

Currently, property taxes are calculated by multiplying property values by the tax rate. When value rise, so do your taxes. When property values rise every year, as they have done lately, that means your tax bill gets bigger every year, too.

We’d like to see a more predictable model for homeowners and offer some relief from large tax bills. First, we’d like to see a local homestead exemption by county. This proposal would offer immediate tax relief to homeowners. Additionally, we advocate an effective tax rate. An effective tax rate will fluctuate with the market so that homeowners will have a predictable, stable tax bill regardless of how the market is doing. Local governments will know how much they are going to collect from homeowners, and any additional revenue will only be derived from new and omitted properties. Texas state law requires property taxes to be based on property value, but the law does not require the rate to be set. By using an effective tax rate we can satisfy Texas state law and can offer homeowners a predictable way to plan their budgets.

We’d like your help to advocate for responsible taxing policy. Please visit http://www.thehiddenpropertytax.com/ to learn more about the effective tax rate and how you can help make this happen.