With 28 days remaining in Texas’ legislative session, state Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, discussed House Bill 988 during a community forum with the Temple Chamber of Commerce on Monday — legislation that he said would benefit property taxpayers.
The legislation, which came out of the tax policy-writing Ways & Means Committee that Shine serves on, passed in the Texas House 146-0 last week.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on property tax issues and we have a good system, but like any good system it always needs reviewing and oversight,” Shine said. “The property tax process needs to continue to be reviewed for efficiency and accountability.”
He emphasized how this legislation would require appraisal review boards to adapt, adopt and conform to model procedures issued by the Texas comptroller.
“We have 254 appraisal districts across the state of Texas, and many of them have different procedures,” Shine said. “So you can own a piece of property in Bell County and a piece of property in Kennedy County … and have a totally different procedure in the process.”
The Temple legislator said Texas needs to standardize those procedures, and cited how many businesses — as well as individuals — own properties in multiple counties.
“We’re going to establish a process so that property owners may request limited-binding arbitration to compel an appraisal review board or a chief appraiser of an appraisal district to take certain actions under these procedures,” he said. “So we’re going to require by rule that the (appraisal review board) adopt procedures for their hearings … so there will be continuity and consistency in the process.”
Rod Henry, the Temple Chamber of Commerce president, thanked Shine for his commitment toward improving the property tax appraisal process in Texas.
“Your commitment to the whole property tax system ... that accountability, that consistency, that transparency … you are a champion,” Henry told Shine.
However, Shine — who noted how likelihood of a special session is “slim to none” in June — stressed that there is still a lot more work to be done, including redistricting that will “pop up later on this year.”
“My staff and I are committed to giving all of us taxpayers as many tools in the process to help us through our evaluations … and if you get a valuation on your property that you disagree with, then I encourage you to file a protest and you need to do it now,” he said. “You only have a certain amount of time to file that protest in. Don’t hesitate. Go ahead and file it and get it turned in so that you can get on the docket and be able to protest that.”