AUSTIN - State Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) began his first Legislative Session in Austin by filing HB 474 with Representatives Talmadge Heflin, Rick Noriega and Martha Wong to lower the limit on annual increase in appraisal value for residential homesteads.
Currently, the appraised value of a homestead for a tax year can rise to as much as 10 percent of the appraised value from the year before. An analysis from the Harris County Tax Office shows that from 1997 to the year 2002, the average tax bill for homeowners in Houston grew by 73 percent in those five years alone.
Bohac’s proposal would bring this 10 percent cap down to 5 percent, slowing the rate at which property appraisals can grow and protecting homeowners from excessive tax hikes. The impact on Bohac’s district creates a potential savings of $4,112 for the average homeowner over the next five years and $19,460 over the next ten years.
“When I first began my campaign for the Texas House of Representatives, I made a promise that I would forcefully address skyrocketing property appraisals by filing legislation that would lower the 10 percent cap for annual tax appraisal increases to 5 percent,” said Representative Bohac. “I am proud to say I am keeping promises and following the will of my district.”
Representative Bohac joint authored HB 474 with three other members of the Houston delegation serving in the Texas House, the Honorable Talmadge Heflin, the Honorable Rick Noriega and the Honorable Martha Wong. In a press conference held with Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, they discussed how excessive property tax hikes affect homeowners from all walks of life, in neighborhoods throughout Houston and across the state. Bohac, Heflin, Noriega, Wong and Bettencourt all agree that the current 10 percent cap is too high and no way to treat hardworking Texans, especially senior citizens, who have accomplished their dream of owning a home.
Lowering the appraisal cap will not cut current taxes or lower existing tax rates. HB 474 simply slows the rate at which a homeowner's property tax appraisal increases by protecting homeowners from excessive tax hikes.
“At a time when the economy is struggling and many Texans are feeling the effects of tough times, we cannot allow excessive and unreasonable property tax appraisals to continue to harm Texas homeowners,” continued Bohac. “Taxpayer salaries have not gone up 73% over the last 5 years, and their property taxes should not either.”