Finally some good news for Harris County Republicans.
As I stated here, Texas law forces county commissions to have a 4 members present to vote to raise taxes. Thank you to everyone who emailed, called or spoke personally to Commissioners Radack and Cagle in support of their move. Maybe Republicans in Harris County can get their mojo back.
UPDATE with statement from HRBC:
“HRBC applauds the actions of County Commissioners Steve Radack and R. Jack Cagle for listening and saving Harris County taxpayers over $185 million of unnecessary tax increases – by denying Commissioners Court the required quorum to increase taxes. This tax increase was not necessary to fund county government core services and was certainly not approved of by the voters,” said Richard Rothfelder, HRBC PAC Treasurer. “HRBC thought it was vitally important to educate taxpayers across the county about County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s misguided 12% property tax increase and communicate with the Commissioners Court by launching, https://yourharriscountytaxes.com/. Over the course of a short couple of weeks, this site took off on social media and was visited by thousands who sent messages to the County Judge and other Commissioners opposing the tax increase. We would like to thank the residents of Harris County for standing up and making their voices heard and opposing this tax rate increase.”
UPDATE with statement from Paul “Tax Man” Bettencourt:
Harris County Commissioners Cagle and Radack Save Taxpayers Around $185 Million
Lack of quorum prevents a “Tax To The Max” on Taxpayers prior to public votes being mandated in 2020
Judge & Two Commissioners totally misinformed on SB 2, 3.5% voter approval rate and appraisal reforms
Houston, TX – Harris County Commissioners Cagle (R-Harris County) and Radack (R-Harris County) used a procedural move to block a quorum and prevent a proposed $200 million plus (or over 10% more) property tax increase on Harris County taxpayers. Rather than face an increase of $118.68, an over 11% increase, a county taxpayer with an average valued home at $177,690 will instead only see an estimated increase of $46 on their county property tax bills. State law requires that at least four of the five commissioners be present to vote on a property tax increase.
“I want to commend Commissioners Cagle and Radack for standing for taxpayers, preventing Harris County residents from being Taxed To The Max,” said Senator Bettencourt (R-Houston). “Today’s action means that Harris County must adopt the effective tax rate of .6117 which is lower than last year’s rate of .62998.”
According to Tax Code 26.05(c), if a taxing unit does not adopt a tax rate before the required date, the tax rate for that unit will be set at the lower of the effective rate or the tax rate adopted by the taxing unit for the preceding tax year. The section requires the governing body to ratify the applicable tax rate before the fifth day after the establishment of the tax rate.
“It is preposterous to say that Senate Bill 2 did not include appraisal reforms, here are some of them listed below,” added Senator Bettencourt.
Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo (D-Harris County) also repeatedly made inaccurate statements about the impact of Senate Bill 2 on county revenues. Mischaracterizing the legislation as a “cap” that would not allow the county to keep up with growth, she did not mention that Senate Bill 2 simply creates a trigger which would require a public vote in a November election to exceed. Additionally, the legislation exempts new growth and first time homesteads from the 3.5% rollback calculation, now called the “voter approval tax rate” in the future.
“Going forward, Harris County taxpayers will be able to vote on these type of tax increase proposals due to the bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 2,” added Senator Bettencourt. “The bottom line is what I have been saying for 20+ years that as appraised values go up, property tax rates should come down.”