The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association issued a press release today announcing a sudy titled APPRAISING THE APPRAISALS:  LOCAL VALUES AND PROPERTY TAXES.  The press release and study set out to demonstarte that homeowners are not subsidizing the below market values of a handful of commercial properties.  The study is in reaction to a number or stories in the press using anecdotal evidence to try to demonstrate that some big business are paying lower property taxes than appropriate due to challenged appraisal values at the expense of homeowners.  According to the study, the facts show otherwise.  Here is the press release:


July 28, 2014 

(Austin, TX) -  The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association today released a study evaluating recent claims about disparity in Texas property tax appraisals. Some are using anecdotal evidence to make the assertion that homeowners are subsidizing the below market values of a handful of commercial properties.

“In fact, the biggest problem with Texas’ property taxes today is not that some values are too low, it is that taxes are too high,” TTARA President Dale Craymer said.

The TTARA study evaluated surveys from the Comptroller’s Office and the taxing jurisdictions themselves to demonstrate that the available data does not support the claims of rampant and substantial undervaluation of commercial properties.

The TTARA study does note that over the past 20 years, homeowners’ share of the property tax has increased, but this is the result of a dramatic increase in the number of homes and significant shifts among major components of the economy. “As the jobs in our state and national economies become more services-based, less physical capital, i.e. taxable property, is needed to support them,” Craymer noted. “Personal property, which is not taxed if owned by individuals, is a big part of the business tax base but it depreciates in value over time. At the same time, Texas homes have become bigger as well as more urban-centered, driving up prices, and taxable values, accordingly.”

“This is not to say that there is no need for procedural changes in our property tax system,” Craymer said. “But, given the economic shifts at hand, procedural changes are not going to provide any noticeable relief for taxpayers – that will only result from lowering the local government spending that predetermines property tax burdens.”

The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership-supported organization of businesses and individuals interested in state and local fiscal policies in Texas and the way those policies impact our economy.  TTARA members operate in every part of Texas; they employ and provide incomes to thousands of Texans; they produce or provide every type of good or service Texans consume; and, they provide a major portion of the revenue that supports public services at every level of government.  TTARA has been recognized as the state’s leading organization specializing in tax and fiscal policy for more than 50 years. 


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