Controversial Property Tax Bill Gets Makeover, But Lawmaker Still at Odds With Local Officials

AUSTIN — A House revamp of the controversial property tax bill that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called a "top priority" is less about tax relief and more about transparency. But it still missed its mark with local officials and law enforcement, who fear an overhaul of Texas' property tax system will jeopardize public safety.Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, engaged in a heated debate with people who testified against the House's version of the property tax bill during a Ways and Means Committee hearing Wednesday morning."I think the taxpayers are very confused about the issue of property taxes," said Bonnen, the committee chairman who spearheaded the House's makeover of the bill. "Do I think it's a bad a process and we have not given you a good process with which to work with? Yes."Instead of characterizing the bill as property tax relief, as Houston Sen. Paul Bettencourt did with the Senate version, Bonnen described the bill as an initiative to increase transparency between local government and taxpayers.The House's committee substitute of Bettencourt's Senate Bill 2 asks local governments to make it easier for homeowners to understand the appraisal and tax-setting processes.  Continue reading...

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