Editorial: At a minimum, Senate State Affairs Committee should amend HB 1082 to ensure disclosure of local elected officials’ property tax appraisals, history

Editorial: At a minimum, Senate State Affairs Committee should amend HB 1082 to ensure disclosure of local elected officials’ property tax appraisals, history

Kelli Ann Cox, Publisher, and Eric Yollick, Editor-in-Chief, The Golden Hammer

IF THE SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE DOESN’T KILL HOUSE BILL 1082 OUTRIGHT, THEN THEY SHOULD AT LEAST AMEND THE LEGISLATION TO REQUIRE DISCLOSURE OF PROPERTY TAX APPRAISALS AND PROPERTY TAX APPRAISAL HISTORIES FOR ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS (other than law enforcement). 

Tomorrow morning, Thursday, April 29, 2021, at 9 a.m., the Senate State Affairs Committee will conduct a hearing on House Bill 1082, which allows all local elected officials, as well as all members of the Texas Legislature and statewide elected officials to hide their home addresses from the public, especially their local appraisal district information. That legislation may be the most anti-citizen, anti-property-tax-reform bill ever passed. Anyone who cares about rising government property taxes, out-of-control appraisal districts, and openness in government should oppose this legislation.

House Bill quietly passed the Texas House on its second reading by unanimous voice vote. After the terrible legislation came to the attention of this newspaper, which addressed what terrible legislation it is, six brave legislators – Representatives Toth, Metcalf, Cecil Bell, Middleton, Landgraf, and Murr – voted against it on the third reading.

The Senate State Affairs Committee should at least amend HB 1082 to make clear that local appraisal district information – other than the actual home address – of all elected officials (beside law enforcement) must be open to the public. In other words, appraisal values and appraisal histories of elected officials should remain open to the public and available for all to see on local appraisal district websites.

Property taxes in Texas continue to skyrocket and tax families, the elderly, and those on fixed incomes out of their homes. As this newspaper has reported for years, local elected officials, especially county commissioners court members and school board members, the worst perpetrators of property tax abuse of all through their election of tax-minded appraisal district board members, always seem to exempt themselves from those rising property tax appraisals. Two articles every Texas legislator should read and understand are:

The day after this newspaper reported the second story, about Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal’s $110,000 property tax appraisal, miraculously the Montgomery Central Appraisal District changed the favorable appraisal for the Montgomery County Judge to its proper $565,000! In other words, shining the light on that cozy little deal between the County Judge and the policy-making Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District, which at the time had two members of the Commissioners Court – Mike Meador and Charlie Riley – on it, brought the abuse to a swift conclusion.

As the article about Dennis Tibbs shows, as property taxes skyrocket, especially from school districts and commissioners courts where government spending growth is far more out of control than Barack Obama or Joe Biden ever dreamed for the federal government, local elected officials seem to exempt themselves from the primary engine behind that growth in taxation: property tax appraisals.

Former Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker, a renowned conservative who used to be an insider, told this newspaper two weeks ago, “These so-called Republicans can’t seem to pass constitutional carry or protecting our children from woke gender identity child abuse, but they can manage to pass a bill that cloaks their under-the-table appraisal deals from public scrutiny.”

Every conservative must help kill House Bill 1082. Any legislator who votes for House Bill 1082 clearly opposes property tax reform.

IF THE SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE DOESN’T KILL HOUSE BILL 1082 OUTRIGHT, THEN THEY SHOULD AT LEAST AMEND THE LEGISLATION TO REQUIRE DISCLOSURE OF PROPERTY TAX APPRAISALS AND PROPERTY TAX APPRAISAL HISTORIES FOR ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS (other than law enforcement). 

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