AUSTIN – June 12, 2019 – Governor Greg Abbott today signed into law Senate Bill 2, which delivers significant property tax reforms that will cap property tax increases without voter approval and provide tax reform to homeowners and businesses across Texas. The Governor hosted the bill signing at Wally’s Burger Express in Austin, TX. Wally’s Burger Express is a family-owned business founded in 1980 that has been struggling due to skyrocketing property taxes. Just this year, Wally’s property taxes increased 44%.
The Governor was joined at the bill signing by Robert Mayfield, the owner of Wally’s Burger Express, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Representatives Dustin Burrows, Terry Canales, and John Zerwas, and Senators Kelly Hancock, Dawn Buckingham and Charles Perry.
“We made it clear from the outset of this session that our goal was not to simply mask the problem of skyrocketing property taxes, but to make transformative changes that would provide meaningful and lasting reform,” said Governor Abbott. “Because of the work by legislators this session, we are ensuring that Texas remains the best state in the nation to live, work, start a business, and raise a family. By signing Senate Bill 2 into law, we are making tremendous strides to provide long-awaited relief to Texas homeowners and businesses.”
Senate Bill 2 lowers the property tax rollback rate to 3.5% for cities and counties. Any increase to this rollback rate in cities, counties, and some special districts will require voter approval and automatically trigger a tax ratification election. This rollback rate will be renamed the voter approval tax rate going forward.
SB 2 also requires taxing units to post their budgets, tax rates, and tax rate calculation worksheets online. The bill makes numerous improvements to the appraisal and protest process, such as prohibiting an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) from increasing the value of a taxpayer property above its initial value, increasing training requirements for ARB members and arbitrators, and entitling taxpayers to the evidence the appraisal district plans to present at their ARB hearing free of charge.