Legislator explains State Consitutional amendments 2, 3

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2009
news@murphymonitor.com


By Jodie Laubeberg

Over the past week or so, many of you have been asking me about two of the propositions on Nov. 3's constitutional amendment ballot.  Some have heard that the ballot includes amendments that would create a statewide property tax.  I wanted to take a moment to confirm that Proposition 2 and Proposition 3 will not create a statewide property tax.

Proposition 2 will eliminate a type of appraisal called "highest and best use."  Right now, appraisers can appraise your home at a higher level if you live near commercial development.  They can appraise your home at a higher level because they are allowed to assume that the "highest and best use" of your house is for it to be a business! 

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want any government representative telling me that my house would be better used as a Starbucks or a McDonald's.   And I certainly do not want to be taxed as if my house could be a Starbucks or McDonald's!   Proposition 2 simply tells appraisers that they must appraise your house for what it is – your homestead – and not for what it could be. 

Proposition 3 will allow the comptroller to set uniform standards for how your home is appraised, no matter what county you live in.  Right now, there is no single set of rules, and so appraisal methods vary widely between counties. That means that one county could be paying a higher amount of property taxes than another county just because a different appraisal method is used.  With Proposition 3, appraisal districts in all 254 counties will have to meet the same standards. This should result in a fairer appraisal process for everyone.

Unfortunately, ballot wording can be confusing.  In Propositions 2 and 3's cases, the wording is very confusing.   However, I have read the legislation that will become Texas law if voters approve either or both of these propositions.  A statewide property tax will not be imposed, and will remain unconstitutional.

I hope this information helps, and clears up any questions you may have.  If you have any concerns or questions about this constitutional amendment election, please let me know.  I will be happy to assist in any way I can.   

Jodie Laubenberg's e-mail address is District89.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us


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