Friday, October 23, 2009

Texas Constitutional Amendments: Propositions 2 & 3

From Representative Ken Paxton's Capitol Steps Newsletter

Constitutional Amendment Election

Clarification on Propositions 2 and 3

I have received emails this week regarding two proposed constitutional amendments that will appear on the November 3 ballot. I would like to clarify the intentions of these amendments regarding Propositions 2 and 3 as these amendments do not create a statewide property tax.

Proposition 2 makes a change to the property appraisal valuation process. Under current appraisal procedures, appraisers value properties based on the highest potential use. In many cases, this means that residential properties are valued based on the ability of the individual to convert the property to a commercial development which drives the appraisal of the property up. In these cases, a person's county appraisal, which is the basis for property taxes, increases to the 10% allowable limit. This increase in the appraisal results in a direct increase in the homeowner's property tax unless the local taxing entity lowers their property tax rate.

Proposition 2 gives direction to the county appraiser to appraise a residential property based on its current use as a residential property instead of based on any other potential use. This will result in a fairer appraisal of an individual's property and should reduce property taxes in many cases.

Proposition 3 also makes a changes to the appraisal process to ensure uniform standards and methods are used. Currently, tax appraisal methods differ between each county which allow each county flexibility in determining their appraisal methods and standards to develop their property tax rolls. However, because school funding is based on the taxable values of property statewide, a similar procedure and method should be used across the state to ensure that properties are appraised fairly and accurately.

During this session, the Legislature made some changes to an annual study performed by the Comptroller known as the "Property Value Study." The changes to the study include allowing the Comptroller's office to give guidance and some oversight of the appraisal methods and process. Under Proposition 3, the state would have more direct authority in the property appraisal process which should result in a more uniform and fair appraisal.

The Texas Constitution does not allow the state to levy a property tax.

A complete summary of the Constitutional Amendments can be found at This guide is put together by the House Research Organization, a non-partisan organization that supports the Texas Legislature with research and data. This summary includes the pro's and con's of each amendment.


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