Property tax crisis requires immediate treatment

Those of us who received the property tax assessments in the mail this week have something to look forward to this weekend: try, with the possible help of a forklift, to pull the jaws off the floor.

San Antonio property valuations are skyrocketing at rates we have yet to see and this is a frightening proposition for families at risk of taxes from their homes.

In one year, the average home in Baxer County rose in value by more than 23 percent (from $ 250,806 to $ 309,118), according to Baxer District.

Elected officials are harmed in unique ways when it comes to property taxes.

Members of Congress can lower their income tax rates and you will immediately feel the difference. Property taxes, on the other hand, are basically local taxes, paid for by public schools, city and county governments, hospital districts, and so on.

No matter what these tax authorities do to offer you tax breaks, this relief is swallowed up – and then a little – by appreciation raises.

It is a constant source of frustration in this country whose fate is at the hands of a tax appraiser who has never set foot in our homes, offers us no explanation for their decisions and bases their valuations on market forces driven, at least in part, by faceless house fins unrelated to our community.

Your home has not changed in 15 years; Your standard of living is basically the same as it was in 2007; But market forces beyond your control have changed around you.

Appraisers tell you that the house valued at $ 150,000 when you bought it is now worth $ 300,000. In Baxer County, that means moving from an annual tax bill of about $ 3,800 to about $ 7,600.

Troy Elliott, the city’s deputy vice president of finance, hinted at such insane scenarios during the presentation of a budget to the city council on Wednesday.

Elliott said the municipality may support over the next year the House of Representatives some kind of tax-targeted relief that will be based on the length of time people live in the home.

“I think the expectation is when you move into the house, you know what your tax liability will be,” Elliott said. “But while you live in this house for five, 10, 15, 20 years, that tax bill keeps growing.”

This is not a problem, this is a crisis. It is a crisis created because of estimates that got out of hand, not from high tax rates. Therefore, it can not really be solved by messing with the tax rates, which is the legislature district.

However, we all know that something needs to be done.

As council members were briefed on the budget, four San Antonio lawmakers appeared in a forum on the University of Texas’ Central Campus in San Antonio, led by Owen Smith of the Texas Tribune.

Legislators – Jose Menandes, John Logan, Ina Min Jar Z and Diego Bernal – have all agreed that property tax reform will be a consensus priority item in next year’s legislative session.

During the council meeting on Wednesday, Clayton Perry, who often had a lone voice for tax breaks on stage, had a chorus behind him.

Last year, Perry and fellow North Side councilman John Courage tried and failed to extend San Antonio’s $ 5,000 exemption (which reduces your home’s taxable value by $ 5,000 when municipal taxes are estimated). On Wednesday, it seemed clear that the idea was now gaining strong support.

West Side councilwoman Terry Castillo thanked Perry and Courage “for hitting the drum with property tax relief.” Castillo’s new councilor Mario Bravo said: “I strongly support a tribute exemption.”

San Antonio property tax rates are relatively low compared to other cities in Texas, but this city is also relatively stingy about farm exemptions.

Last year, Austin increased the exemption from its home from 10% to 20% of the estimated value of the home. The $ 5,000 San Antonio exemption translates to less than 2 percent of the value of an average home in that city.

If San Antonio removes this exemption by up to 5 percent, it means an annual tax reduction of about $ 80 for a homeowner valued at $ 300,000. It’s a small dent in a $ 7,600 tax burden, but it’s a step in the right direction.

It’s also a responsible move, because now, unlike in 2019, when the council passed the $ 5,000 exemption, the city is almost flooding revenue.

Sales tax revenue in San Antonio rose 21% year-over-year. As for property taxes, a state law that limits annual revenue growth by 3.5 percent will almost certainly require the council to reduce the property tax rate by 2 to 3 cents, to stay accordingly.

These are just deep-cut plasters. But any help would be appreciated now.

ggarcia@express-news.net | Twitter: @ gilgamesh47

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