Homeowners head to Austin for property tax reform

Concerns about rising property taxes in Collin County

COLLIN COUNTY, Texas -- There's a saying for people struggling to deal with success, 'that's a good problem to have.' 

But North Texas homeowners say no matter how good a problem is, it's still a problem.

Tuesday morning about 50 homeowners boarded a bus to Austin. They went to talk to lawmakers about rising home values which in turn means more property tax they'll have to pay.

"I'm on this crusade to get property taxes adjusted to where they're not so cotton picking, chicken plucking high," Richard Lavender said,  a retiree in North Texas who says payments are getting out of control.

Across DFW home values keep going up, especially in Collin County where companies like Toyota and other Fortune 500's have announced plans to move. The news and influx of jobs keeps boosting values higher and higher. 

"Well you do lose sleep at night trying to figure this out. Having to choose between fixing your home or paying a tax," Lavender said.

The homeowners headed to Austin to hear more about Senate Bill 2 which addresses property tax concerns. One of the provisions would require cities to have a pubic vote if they bump property tax rates above four percent, the current benchmark is eight percent.

Many city leaders oppose that provision, saying state leaders shouldn't dictate how municipalities run their government. McKinney's Mayor Brian Loughmiller sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to rethink the four percent prevision. Lisa Hermes with McKinney's Chamber of Commerce also says that provision isn't the way to go.

"Well it won't do what this bill says it wants to get done. It would save homeowners a few bucks a month, we're talking the cost of a cup of coffee," Hermes said.

Instead Hermes says the change would cost cities millions. While she agrees tax reform needs to take place she says cities are having to pay for more as state lawmakers pull back funds. She says infrastructure and education require lots of funding that cities have to find a way to pay for themselves.

"What lawmakers really need to do is look at school funding. The school district property tax makes up the majority of the cost and the state now puts the majority of the burden on local ISDs," Hermes said.

Back on the bus homeowners say they don't have all the answers. But they say something has to be done and they're willing to travel to the Capitol to help lawmakers find solutions for North Texas. 

Copyright 2016 WFAA


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment