According to an article in the Star-Telegram, many middle-class homeowners are facing rising property taxes while some higher-end property owners receive lower property tax assessments. One such resident, Richard Humphries, a 77-year-old retired railroad worker recently received a property appraisal that showed an increased value of $55,000 while his neighbor’s property value remained the same.
The article quoted Humphries:
“I think it is unreasonable for my property to go up so much in one year and my neighbor’s property doesn’t,” Humphries said. The Eagle Mountain home is not his homestead. “I’ve been down there to protest before, but they will have 900 reasons why your property went up. I don’t really have any faith in the process.
The problem is that property appraisals which are used to determine property value (and by extension, taxes) are assessed by calculating the property’s “highest and best use.” Legislation is currently being considered by the Texas Senate which would change that practice.
HB 3613 Mandates that homestead properties not be assessed based on their highest and best use to protect them from escalating values because of a nearby development. Has passed the House and is waiting in a Senate committee.
Escalating property taxes can have negative impact on middle-class families, especially with the rising number of job losses and foreclosures affecting this demographic.
Many individuals and families facing a financial crisis such as a job loss, foreclosure or drastic reduction in income need to take property taxes into consideration when assessing their financial standing. If you’re waiting for a property appraisal from the state, you may want to wait until you receive that information before making any concrete decisions regarding your budget.