Bills unanimously pass Texas House and Senate to improve property tax rate transparency

Texas taxpayers will have a new tool available this summer to use during the fall property tax rate setting process after companion bills expanding government transparency passed both the state House and Senate unanimously.

HB2723, filed by state Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, passed unanimously in April by a vote of 144-0. It creates a new statewide portal for all taxpayers to use during the property tax rate setting process. Its Senate version, SB 1434, filed by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, passed this week by a vote of 30-0.

The bills were created “to improve accessibility and awareness of taxing entities' property tax websites by creating a statewide website listing all truth-in-taxation websites.”

They improve upon last session’s SB2 bill to expand property tax rate setting transparency, lawmakers said.

Previously, taxing entity websites were added as a part of SB2 to create a one-stop location for a property owner to find information on what each taxing entity was proposing as a tax rate for the upcoming year. The bills consolidate the various websites into one site statewide.

"This bill creates a single portal for all taxpayers to use around the state to be able to follow the critical tax rate setting process by all taxing units in the fall,” Bettencourt said. "Taxpayer transparency has always been my priority and it is Chairman Meyers priority as well because property owners deserve to know what rates taxing entities are proposing on property tax rate increases or decreases."

The Texas Department of Information Resources will administer the website. Information about the website will be included in state agency notices sent out throughout the year, as well as via postcards sent to all taxpayers this August.

The website will give all Texans the opportunity “to check their tax rates before they are adopted and to contact your elected officials setting the tax rates electronically," Bettencourt said.

It also “allows for the ability to email your elected officials to voice your support or concerns about the proposed property tax rate just one click away," he added.